You know what? I probably wouldn’t bother with this. I know it’s a famous book and has been made into a movie and all, but I just didn’t get it.
The book broadly breaks down into three sections. The first is a rather crude advert for a certain wishy-washy variety of Hinduism. Yes, I know that it supposedly talks about Christianity and Islam, but the author doesn’t seem to understand either very well.
The main section of the book is devoted to a long story about a shipwreck. I’m pretty sure that much of the detail in this section is factually accurate because I once read a very similar story in an edition of Readers’ Digest. Of course, the shipwreck section in The Life of Pi is livened up by the fact that the shipwrecked boy has to share his life raft with a Bengal tiger; something that didn’t happen in the Readers’ Digest True Life Story that I read about a shipwreck. This section is mildly diverting and full of useful information about what to do if you ever end up sharing a lifeboat with a tiger; something which could potentially save your life. But probably won’t. I found myself reading on in the hope that the tiger would eat the hero and put the story out of its misery. He didn’t.
The last five to ten pages of the book are fascinating. I can’t tell you what happens as that would be a plot spoiler. I really enjoyed this section but it really wasn’t worth reading the whole book just for this and sadly it only makes sense in the context of the whole book.
I bought Life of Pi on Kindle for 20p. I feel cheated. Lots of other people have read this book and enjoyed it and I’m told that the film is a real treat. Please feel free to ignore my opinion and read it for yourself.
I’ve not posted a link to the Kindle book (yet) because I don’t have enough Internet connectivity to do so. I’m sitting outside my little bungalow on the Jos Plateau watching some late dry season clouds bubble up in the distance. There is the promise that the rains will come, but not for a few days yet. Closer to me the flame trees and jacaranda are in full bloom. It’s very pretty. My early morning run on a school running track listening to the familiar sounds of Africa was very enjoyable – though the lack of oxygen at this altitude was less so.
It’s good to be back in Africa – but I still didn’t like the Life of Pi.