Yann Martel
Life of Pi
Book Review by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony

Started this one a year ago, couldn't get into it. Maybe it was the sentence structure -- a great deal of dangling participles. Anyway, a year later, on my book tour up the west coast, I stumbled across it in the home of a friend. While waiting for him, I cracked it open in the middle somewhere and gave it another go. Hey, I liked it. Once you get used to the sentence structure, the style is lightly clever, informally intellectual. The story is certainly alluring and enjoyable.

If you've heard about this book, and just a look at the cover will tell you that it's about a boy stuck on a boat with a tiger. Yes, that's the main portion. However, best you should know, there are a good 100 pages before that story embarks. So, don't be in a hurry for it -- those 100 pages are really good. In fact, they may even be the better half of the story.

On the higher level (no pun intended) the book is a philosophical look at religions.

No doubt if you've finished this book, you'll be looking to discuss it with others. I've already met several people who've said-- like it, just didn't get the ending. Well, I must admit, I said the same thing at first, had to noodle it awhile, then came up with a satisfactory resolution. Then, I read the reader's guide and came up with a second satisfactory resolution. Read on at your own risk, if you haven't finished the book, this will spoil.

My initial thoughts: At first, Piís conclusion is a bit frustrating. Why? Because doubt is cast on the truth of the story. And we so enjoyed the story, we don't like to think our journey of reading it was wasted if it's not true. But calm, the fact of the matter is, that this is a book of fiction, therefore neither story is true (the one with the animals and the one without). Or, more interestingly, both stories have (perhaps an equal) chance of being true. And in fact, the author has given us the choice to choose. How nice of him. So, don't be stressed out -- choose your favorite ending and move on. Of course, the author has set this up as a bit of a trap...depending on which story you pick, supposedly this will be the telltale sign of your faith in God or not. I personally don't think that's quite fair, nor waterproof (so to speak) logically. But I love that the author had the audacity to present the question. And that question is a grand springboard into an area worthy of thought.

But then secondly: After reading the readers notes, I was reminded that the author is making a grand point of "Better Story" vs. "Yeastless factuality"

This certainly implies that relative to this work of fiction, the animal-less story is the fact of the matter. Yet, the wiser choice of belief would be the animal story. This is the same as saying, despite the actual facts and even reality, believing in God will make your personal life a better story.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents and 2 cents-- 4 cents in total. But go ahead and keep the change.

btw, I greatly appreciated the first 100 pages -- a contented, Muslim/Christian/Hindu -- couldn't the world use a few more of those these days?

"I have nothing to say of my working life, only that a tie is a noose, and inverted though it is, it will hang a man nonetheless if he's not careful."

"Alas, the sense of community that a common faith rings to a people spelled trouble for me."

Read more Book Reviews by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony.

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 29-Feb-2012 11:17:30 PST