life of pi book cover

Book Review: Life of Pi by Yann Martel (The Book that Changed My Life)

Earlier today, I was playing Mobile Legends (Lol!) when I was hit by a sudden urge to write a book review. As random as it may be, this wave of inspiration doesn’t come as often as it used to, so here I am taking advantage of it before it dies down.

Just to make it clear, I am not a hardcore bookworm, nor am I a professional book critic. I haven’t read that many books in my lifetime and surely there’s still a plethora of books that I have yet to explore. But yes, I do love reading  and I also love sharing my (sometimes unpopular) opinions to the world.

That being said, I thought I’d share with you my thoughts and feelings about a book that is so important to me because of the impact it has made in my life.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The Life of Pi follows the story of a young Indian boy named Piscine Patel or Pi – pronounced as the Mathematical constant  π. His family owns a zoo in Pondicherry in Southern India. During the period when Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared “The Emergency”, his father decided to sell the zoo and emigrate to Canada.

The family (Pi, his parents, and older brother Ravi)  boards the Tsimtsum, a Japanese freighter carrying the zoo animals to North America. A few days after crossing the Manila Port, the ship encounters a storm and sinks. Pi manages to secure a small lifeboat. He was stuck on the boat with a spotted hyena, zebra, and an orangutan named Orange Juice. Much to his surprise, he shortly discovers that Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger, is hiding under the boat’s trampoline. The other animals eventually die and he survives 277 days out in the Pacific Ocean in the presence of a tiger.

The novel has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and has won several awards including the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. In 2012, the book was adapted into a feature film directed by Ang Lee and has won 4 awards during the 85th Academy Awards including Best Director.

 My Two Cents

I read this book a few years ago, and I’ve fallen in love with it ever since. One of the many reasons why I love it is because of the lessons I have learned from it. Many themes were discussed, but what really drew me into it was Pi’s story of survival. Being stranded in the middle of the sea is already nerve wracking as it is, let alone being  stuck with a Bengal tiger on a tiny lifeboat. He was a scared, teenage boy who didn’t know what to do, but manages to think of ways on how to outsmart the wild animal before it tries to kill him.

He learns how to fish, produce fresh drinking water from the rain, build a makeshift raft so that he won’t have stay in the boat with the tiger, and eventually learns to train the animal for his own good. But what’s really admirable about him is his willingness to feed the tiger, even if it means putting his own life in grave danger. I mean, yes, he only did it so that the tiger won’t have to eat him alive, but still, who does that? If you’re in a life and death situation, you can just easily let the animal die of starvation so you can secure your own personal survival.

Pi Patel

But Pi was brave and compassionate. For him, taking care of the tiger keeps him alive. Towards the end of the book, he realized that Richard Parker was no longer just an animal; he’s become his ally, his friend, and his most  loyal companion during the darkest time of his life. That was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read in a book and it made me realize that trials and difficulties aren’t so bad if you learn to embrace and befriend them.

Growth Through Adversity

As you go further into the story, you’ll find that faith is a recurring theme throughout the chapters. During his childhood, Pi was very curious about religion. He tried to discover and learn different practices, which was frowned upon by his parents. He was raised as a Hindu, but he also tried to learn Christianity and Islam, saying that he wanted to understand God through different religions. Through his wisdom and understanding, he grew into a person with an unwavering faith and love for God.

Pi made it out alive because of his bravery, resilience, and faith in God. His faith kept him going in the toughest time of his young life, and he learned to grow through adversity. He’s just a boy, but because of his untimely misfortune, he forced himself to go beyond his age for his own survival.

This book taught me to toughen up during my own moments of adversity. There is a quote in the book that I will never forget because it totally changed my views and perspective in life. It says:

“Life will defend itself no matter how small it is”

life of pi quote

Pi learns this lesson from his father. He told him that it is man’s nature to defend himself no matter how big and difficult the situation is. To me, that resounded so loud that I thought to myself, I can conquer any challenge that comes my way. And to this day, whenever I feel like things are falling apart and I’m losing faith in myself, I would go back to this quote and be reminded that I am tougher than what I think I am.

As we go through life, we will encounter many storms and shipwrecks and Bengal tigers. But that’s okay. We are all warriors.  And just like Pi, we’ll make it out alive.

Will I recommend this book?

Life of Pi is without a doubt one of my favorite books of all time and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is going through difficult times.

However, as I have previously mentioned, this book tackles sensitive topics such as religion. It may or may not offend some people, so bear that in mind before you decide to read it.

Nonetheless, this book is something that I really treasure; one that I know I would read over and over again in the years to come.

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