Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

life of piIf i’m being honest, I didn’t care for the first part of this book. I was just all, GET TO THE TIGER PART. If I didn’t know there was a tiger part, maybe I would have settled into the story more, the part where he learns multiple religions, etc. But then  THE TIGER PART CAME. And it sucked me in, the gruesome, yet necessary, things that happened in order for Pi and the tiger to survive their time on the lifeboat. And the zebra … the poor zebra!

But in the end, was this a story about a boy trapped at sea with only a tiger for company? Or was there a larger metaphor at play here? I’m not smart enough to figure this out, so I suggest you read it and get back to me. I took it at face value while it was happening, and if you do that, I think you still come away with a fantastic story of determination and triumph against all odds. But if you look below the surface, there’s a whole religious undertone happening here. Pi himself practiced three religions and so clearly Pi drew upon his faith to make it through his ordeal.

The final portion of the book tells of when he washes up on shore and a team of investigators comes to interview him. They don’t believe his story, so he tells them another one, without animals. They don’t believe that one, either, and in the end, don’t care. They just want to know what happened to the Japanese tanker Pi was on that sank and left him afloat.

The goodreads reviewers have some much more detailed, smart, insightful opinions on this book, so I defer to them if you’re really looking for a review from someone who “got it.” In fact, I feel dumb after having read those reviews. I feel like maybe I missed the point of this book. Maybe I should watch the movie instead.

Anyway, I did enjoy what I came away with from this book. So I guess that counts for something.


  1. I am right there with you. When I read this book a few years ago I kept racking my brain for the deeper meaning and then thought “oh well.” I think if we have to work that hard at getting it then the writer didn’t get the job done. But I may just be making excuses:).

    • Yep! That’s a great way to put it. Thanks for your comment! I just started following your blog. Great blog title … it’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it 😉

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