The Life of Pi by Yann Martel fulfilled the “Book Seen Read on TV or in a Movie” category of the PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge. This novel was not originally on my List Challenge for the category.
I decided to use it over Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court or Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. Time is running out for the blog. I still have many novels to finish and some are very long. House of Leaves, I’m looking at you.
I opted to add a novel I’d already read in 2019. I’ve made three oops while doing this project. I read two for the category “A Book Written by Someone from Asia, Africa, or South America.” And I read two for the “Book Revolving around a Puzzle or Game” category. And I read The Life of Pi. I don’t know where I felt it fit, but the story works here.
My research shows novel was on Gilmore Girls. Checking a couple lists, I found it was at least mentioned. Footage of Rory or someone else actually reading the novel could not be found. I beg your forgiveness and ask for your patience while I trash this novel.
I loved this story until I read the ending. The tale is a long journey of a young boy stuck on a boat with a tiger named Richard Parker. Escaping from the boat means certain death but so does staying. Pi sticks it out, weaving a tremendous tale of survival, smarts, and serious emotions. The author does a great job of pulling us through the story, dancing back and forth between the past on the boat and the present life of Piscine Patel.
The novel was compelling and believable. I loved all the tips and tricks he used to keep the boy alive and thriving. The setting, though mostly a boat, seemed a fantasy come true. The images were perfect, the book well-written.
And then the end happened.
The ending of the book completely ruined the entire story for me. They left the whole thing ambiguous whether the boy actually experienced anything he reported on the journey or not. I hate unreliable narrators more than life itself. The only novel with such a narrator I have even enjoyed was Gone Girl.
Mr. Martel betrayed his readers by putting that ending in. Why would an author throw away a story by qualifying it like that? I get it’s all about “reality is what you believe” but honestly, it’s fiction. Leave it alone. Let us have that journey.
The story was plausible. If you read the entire book, you had to believe that the kid was actually there with that tiger the whole time. We bought it and Mr. Martel slapped us in the end with a “well, did it happen?”
If Mr. Martel has another novel, I’ll never read it. I wish I had read the book in paper rather than audio. Then I could’ve thrown that sucker across the room and burned it. I ranted about the books for weeks.
So completely spoilery review and I loathed the ending, but the novel was so well-written, and I followed the tale religiously until that ending. I finished, but man, it was close.
So, I give The Life of Pi by Yann Martel three tigers because the first half of the story deserved five.