A cargo ship sinks in the Pacific and all that remains is one lonely lifeboat. The lifeboat's crew is: a hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, an orangutan, a Bengal tiger by the name of Richard Parker, and Pi, an Indian boy. As the crew members begin to assert their places in the food chain, Pi has to focus on getting to the top and how to deal with a Bengal tiger that grows hungrier by the day. Will Pi survive an impossible journey?
At the mention of Life of Pi most people begin to gush about how amazing the movie was and how much they loved it. Followed by their shock at the fact that I haven't seen it yet. My reason? My general experience has been that reading the book is a more enjoyable experience than watching the movie. The book is usually richer in terms of content, context, and backstories. I didn't want to spoil the experience of reading the book by watching the movie. Life of Pi sat on my to-read list patiently waiting and I finally go to it when an extra credit opportunity in English class involved it.
I had a very hard time slipping into the book. I just couldn't do it. For the longest time, I was bored and didn't feel like the story was moving forward at all. But I kept pushing through it the way you have to keep pushing in the last leg of a race. I felt the story begin to pickup as the backdrop for the shipwreck began to be set up. this is going to sound very sadistic but... hear me out: The shipwreck and Pi's struggle to survive were the only good parts of this book.
Another problem I had with Life of Pi was that it was very dense. I thought that Yann Martel was trying really hard to capture the culture of India and to infuse the book with the color, brightness, and exuberance of India that he forgot about his plot for awhile. In my opinion he had way too many details and very few plot devices.
The last and final reason for this book leaving me unsatisfied was that it felt very disjointed to me while I was reading. The author kept switching for past to present to his own thoughts which bothered me and basically turned me off from the book because it didn't stay on one topic or one setting for the story to really catch hold. I honestly felt like it was a super confusing time travel story.
I give Life of Pi 2 stars because it was okay. the shipwreck and Pi trying to survive it was entertaining enough to balance out the struggle to get into it, the denseness, and the disjointed character of the book. The adjective that comes to mind is mas o menos which literally translated means more or less as in it wasn't satisfying enough to be good but it wasn't disappointing enough to be classified as bad.