I’m probably gonna sound like those people that are always stressing how the book was better than the movie but, here goes. I postponed watching the movie “Life of Pi” because I wanted to read the book first, and what a read it was. My heart kept screaming, “I love this book!” with each turning of the page. The story is hilarious in the most endearing way. I laughed because the alternative would be to cry, that’s how full my heart was with the unfolding of the tale.
From the origins of his name to his ordeal in the vast waters of the Pacific, Pi’s story kept me engaged every step of the way. His clever humor, his anecdotes about animals, zoology, and finding God in everything are why this book is right up there as one of my favorites.
I love how vividly he paints his imagery, I was in that lifeboat with him and the tiger every step of the way, needed him to survive. I tensed up with him at the thought of being eaten by Richard Parker, the tiger, whose name is another story on its own, and my heart welled up in love for the very same beast. Did I mention how funny this man is? From joining three religions because he “just wanted to love God”, to cheering the tiger on while it was swimming for its life, only to jump out and attempt to escape the lifeboat after the gravity of his actions had dawned on him. I was equally amused and awed by this man’s storytelling.
I was so sad at how he parted with Richard Parker, such a love story deserved a better ending.
“At the edge of the jungle, he stopped. I was certain he would turn my way. He would look at me. He would flatten his ears. He would growl. In some such way, he would conclude our relationship. He did nothing of the sort. He only looked fixedly into the jungle. Then, Richard Parker, companion of my torment, awful, fierce thing that kept me alive, moved forward and disappeared forever from my life.”
“…I wept like a child. It was not because I was overcome at having survived my ordeal, though I was. Nor was it the presence of my brothers and sisters, though that too was very moving. I was weeping because Richard Parker had left me so unceremoniously. What a terrible thing it is to botch a farewell. Where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape”
I understood his sentiment. For the thing that was his source of life and sanity to just disappear from his life like that with no proper sendoff, truly heartbreaking. One thing that was evident in this man’s story was his love for this tiger, the way he spoke of its beauty and grace, I wanted to own him just as much, but I’m afraid I would have never been able to tame him like he did.
A great read, I was equally anticipating and dreading the end. Which was a bit of an anticlimax, but the story was so well written I can forgive the ending. Truly hilarious and enchanting at the same time. From his time in India to his time in the pacific, Pi remained an amazing person to get to know. Ravi, the typical older brother, and his parents in all their parenting glory, their stories, short as they were, remained a part of Pi’s story to the end.
I loved this book, the cheat sheet to zoo-keeping, friendship, some questionable dietary habits, and religion, all in one. Even as I am writing this, I feel like I am not doing it justice. Let me put it this way: I wish I hadn’t read this book so I could start the process all over again. I look forward to recommending this book to my friends and experiencing it over and over again through them. What a great piece of writing.
Sidenote: I still haven’t watched the movie, out of fear that it will ruin this magic cloud I’m on.