Saturday, January 9, 2016

1. Life of Pi

Ohhhh man…I know you guys have just been waiting for this moment. It’s the first OFFICIAL review of 2015 (right on schedule, I might point out… *brushes shoulders off*)!!

The reading is going well, and I’m right on track…but it’s also only day 9 of this schedule, so we’ll see what happens. I have a tendency to let life get the best of me and to get behind, which is why I’ve fallen off in the past. Here’s hoping that this year really will be different, and I’ll hit the 84 I intend to.

So, without further ado, please enjoy my review of Book 1 of Project 84…

Life of Pi
Life of Pi
By Yann Martel

Have you ever read one of those books that you want to fall in love with?

You do. The writing is beautiful. The story is abstract and interesting. The characters are well rounded. The ending is on point. All you want is for this book to become a classic in your mind. All you want is to have found a new favorite that you can read over and over and over.

But then, when you finally make it to the last page…you just can’t feel the love.

Life of Pi was one of those books.

It has all the makings of a book I would enjoy. The writing style is as intriguing as any I've encountered. It’s visual, but not too wordy. It’s conversational, but still literary (this is a talent I’ve never quite mastered in my own writing). The setting was unique, the characters were unique. I should have loved this book, but I just couldn’t quite get into it.

For those reasons, I’m hesitant to say it was a bad book…but it was just boring. The storyline is as follows (without giving too much away): Pi Patel is a teenage Indian boy whose family owns a failing zoo. As the zoo closes down, the family (along with exotic zoo animals they plan to sell) boards a boat to Canada, ready to start a new life.

The boat sinks early in the voyage, and Pi finds himself on a large lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a royal Bengal tiger...with no help, and no hope.

It sounds like a beautiful story, right? And it is a beautiful story. However, so much of the novel takes place on a lifeboat, and pages are written about Pi’s hopelessness and survival instincts. Unique? Absolutely. Entertaining? Eh... His time is monotonous, and so is the story. It goes on like that, with little change, for most of the book, and it becomes too much for me to handle as a reader.

I get the point. I understand why people enjoy this book, and what the author was trying to do. The writing is beautiful, that cannot be emphasized enough. But, for me, the book left something to be desired.

Which brings us to an interesting question: would I recommend this book? Over on Goodreads, I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars…and that’s exactly how it feels. Other people would likely enjoy this book more than I did (in fact, I know they do), and others would likely enjoy it less. As far as a recommendation goes…I would recommend giving Life of Pi a shot. I don’t regret picking up this book, and I’m glad I read it, but don’t expect a page turner. The narrative is slow, and you should be prepared for that.

***

So, book 1 wasn’t a hit, but it wasn’t a clunker either. I got to cross another book off of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, and remove another from my “to read” shelf. But, ultimately, it wasn’t the strongest start to the year.

Luckily, the other book I’m reading right now is excellent, so my next review should be more complimentary…and, let’s face it, verbose…so please stay tuned for that!

I’ll give you a better idea of where I am in this journey tomorrow in my Sunday Update, and will have my answer to last week’s discussion question. I encourage you to go put your answer in last Sunday’s comment section to join the discussion!


Next Review: Columbine by Dave Cullen (Estimated posting date: Wednesday, January 13th)




**All quotes and annotations refer to this version of Life of Pi, published by Mariner Books in 2003**

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