Quick note about Life of Pi (and Cloud Atlas)
I've read these two books in the last couple of months--both because the movies were coming out, and because I'm fascinated with the big-screen adaptation of novels.
Especially BIG books like these two. I loved them both, and wrote a quick review of Life of Pi on Goodreads if you'd like to check it out:
** spoiler alert **
I came to Pi a little late. Just like my experience with Cloud Atlas, I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie.
Both novels affected me in similar ways.
They present a perspective on death via different approaches to life. E.g., you can live life this way, or this way, or this way. Each approach has a different outcome and defines the ease with which you approach death. This is the kind of stuff I tend to chew on for days. I love the way both Atlas and Pi stick with you. I bring them up in conversation with friends, and--more importantly, they change the way you approach your own life. That's good writing!
I definitely related to Pi's religious leanings. If I had the exposure he did to all of those religions at his age, I like to think I'd adopt them all like he did. Author Yann Martel spends a lot of the book detailing how Piscene's generous spirituality and the world's religions were at conflict with one another. Pi embraced (and attempted to survive) life and death through religion. I love the peace and strength religion and spirituality gave him as a teenager.
There are so many lessons in this book and all its rich characters. I have a feeling I'll be learning from it for years to come. It is a book you could re-read over time.
It is not an easy read. It can be incredibly brutal. I have to admit, I skipped several pages. (Poor Zebra.)
I loved the unreality Pi brought to his all-too-real story. For me, it represents how spirituality can infuse your life with a higher purpose or lift you out of the mundane into a more soaring, magical existence. But you have to believe, and not everyone can. That's why they call it a leap of faith. The act of leaping = the act of letting go.
It reminds me of a clip I saw on Inside Edition. (Stick with me here--it's actually a sweet story.) A father was losing his son to cancer, and he said his little boy's last words were "God needs me more." Whether that's true or not, I love that the child felt he was leaving one father for another. That's the peace that Pi had because he accepted religion full force. Not proselytizing here. Just observing.