Love it or Hate it? Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Have you ever noticed how some books seem to drive a wedge between people? You check the reviews and find almost no middle-of-the-road ratings. Instead people either seem to love it or hate it. Well, welcome to the Love it or Hate it post category! Each month, we’ll pick one book to review and two contributors will battle it out to convince you to pick it up or throw it out.
Last month we discussed Atonement and an overwhelming number of you voted for either “love it” or “want to read it.” Many thanks to Nicole R for writing the hilarious “hate it” section for Atonement.
This month we will be discussing: Life of Pi by Yann Martel. We have two contributors this month and their names will be revealed after voting closes! Please make sure to vote for this month’s book! The poll is at the bottom of this post.
Book Summary (from GoodReads):
Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The protagonist, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, a Tamil boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spirituality and practicality from an early age. He survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
LOVE IT: Reviewer A: I read this book for my face-to-face book club in April 2006. Our book club had just started in July of 2005 and this was among our first books. I really liked it and rated it 5 stars. It was truly a love it, hate it book for my book club. Many never finished it. You do have to finish this book to get the impact, and I agree that it got a little slow but after all, if you’re in a boat on the ocean, things are probably a bit slow.
So if it was slow, why would I give it 5 stars? Because, I didn’t see the ending coming. I was taken by surprise. And then, my reaction was, ‘why did I not see this coming? I should have seen it coming.’ I thought the book, and in particular the ending, was very thought provoking. The author is a philosopher and he wrote a book that is very philosophical, but told as a compelling story that makes you think. I think that is what the author was trying to say. We create our own truth. We have a need to create a story that we can live with, which one do you prefer? I prefer the better story.
I think it is simply written, easy to read, and the philosophy wasn’t off putting like it can be in books like The Elegance of the Hedgehog or preachy like Paulo Coelho. The author starts with an author note that is actually part of the book, so Yann Martel puts himself in the book. The opening sentence is “This book was born as I was hungry.” (A great first line once you think about the story and the ending).
Even though this book did not change my view of God or how I think of truth, I still thought it was a great story of what it takes to be a survivor. We survive when we create our own stories and the better story is the one with God.
HATE IT: Reviewer B:
I read this book a few years ago. Everyone said it was a great book. Everyone said it was amazing. You have to read this book. It will blow your mind. I am here to tell you everybody lied.
Never have I hated a book so much. It took me months to read . I dreaded picking it up. I invented excuses not to read it. Laundry, dishes, cooking enough meals to last a family of five for a whole week. I don’t think my toilet has ever been so clean. I should have quit. I didn’t because I had been told the ending made it all worth it. Another lie.
I found the ending obvious from the beginning. After all it was the only plausible explanation for the events of the story. From the tiger to the island and everything in between and following, all of it could only happen with that ending.
I finished this book angry. Angry that I wasted so much time on it. Angry that for six weeks I didn’t touch another book. It still makes me angry. I simply have to hear the name and I begin to rant. Not just a minor rant. No, I rant loud and long. I invent curse words because those that exist can not properly give vent to my feelings. No amount of ability to turn a pretty phrase, which I admit the author has, makes this book worth it. Run. Run fast. Don’t look back, because it might catch you and you will forced to endure the nightmare that is Life of Pi. And if you do read it despite these words of warning, may God have mercy on your soul.
What did you think of the book? Cast your votes below.
Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy of the book at this link: Life of Pi