Sunday, August 7, 2011

Life of Pi -- Yann Martel ---------------------------- 1.5 Stars

So, I am not sure if this has ever happened to you reading a book or watching a movie, but it did for me with Life of Pi. What I am talking about is this rather odd phenomenon of expecting that you will like something, and by all reasonable expectations you should, but you just don't. To go ever further, after finishing reading/watching said book/movie, there is even more evidence to suggest that you should have immensely enjoyed what you just finished. However, it just did not happen. Well, that was my experience with Life of Pi.

By all indications, I should have really enjoyed this novel. Great reviews, wonderful word of mouth following, a well-written novel with an interesting plot that included numerous twists and turns, and ending that truly made me re-read various parts and have a conversation with others about it's meaning. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well I suppose it is, but I just didn't get it. I mean, I really disliked the book. Often, it was a struggle to just pick it up and get through it. That's not what I am shooting for when reading a book.

Let's figure out why. First, in general, I like non-fiction books better. When I do read fiction, which I do almost 50% of my reading , it needs to be a book with some basis in reality. Thus, my first major issue with the book. As you might be able to tell from the picture on the cover, the book is about a teenage boy living on a life raft with a gigantic tiger. Yeah, there goes reality. I mean, I guess the book is possible (though he did live with a hyena and orangutan for a while too), but it was a bit too far for my realist mind to bend. Second, I love dialogue. Guess what, this book had little. I suppose this should not sound so surprising since, as I just said, the novel is about a teenage boy and tiger on a boat; I should have figured that pairing doesn't lead to much back and forth. Third, I didn't like the writing style/organization of the text. I felt like the writing didn't flow like other books I read, and it was more of a task to get through then other books. It was a bit too choppy for me. The organization was also a bit weird. The novel starts with an author explaining that this is a true story and sets the stage to show how 'real' it is, though the reader is fully aware that it's a novel. It then goes through the long sea story and fairly cool last part that takes about the aftermath. Again, no great flow. Fourth, the whole book is an allegory. It's all about god and spirituality. This too would be something that I would normally be in to (I like spiritual stuff...see this review), but when something is presented in an allegory, I don't buy in. It seems kind of hokey. Additionally, in the beginning of the book they say that this story will 'make you believe in god'. That was a pretty bold statement that I really feel was not backed up. The whole spiritual/god piece of the book especially turned me off.

Perhaps I was just not in the mood for this type of book as I read it or perhaps it really is just an awful book (though most disagree with me on that). I don't know what to say besides I give my ratings based on how exciting, entertaining, and captivating each book is, and this book failed miserably to hold my attention. I suppose if you don't mind giving up reality almost totally and want to read a fairly deep book, this would be the one for you. Just remember it's still a book about a kid on boat for 7 months with some animals... good luck with that.

No comments:

Post a Comment