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Life of pi
by Yann Martel

Author: Yann Martel

   Life of pi is a tale of hope, religion and faith that challenges your beliefs through a spectacular journey in which a young boy named Piscine Molitor Patel who goes under the alias of "Pi" because his peers pronounce his name as a common expletive. We hear of Pi's journey from his adult self in an interview style between him and the author, where it is promised that Pi's story will make him believe in God, here we learn of Pi's life as a young boy in his family's business (the Pondicherry zoo); his numerous religious experience and most importantly when he was trapped on a lifeboat with a Royal Bengal Tiger, a female orang-utan, a zebra with a broken leg and a hyena.

     The story starts off with "Pi" recounting the story of his name, we learn that he was named after a French swimming pool that a family friend had visited even though Pi's parents cannot swim and whenever this friend takes Pi out to swim his mother is always very concerned. Pi tells us various different stories about his family zoo and it's many attractions, particularly the lonely rhino that has befriended some goats after they were put in it's enclosure. I found the most interesting part of Pi's early life was that he was devoted to Hinduism, Christianity and Islam as he proclaims that he just wants to love God and a part of the novel that I found to be quite humorous was when Pi's teachers of all three of these religions showed up at the same time and started bickering over who's religion was superior and Pi was adamant that he was follower of all three.

    Pi's acceptance of all religions and even atheism, he only dislikes agnosticism as he thinks that people should only be in doubt for a little amount of time, made him an extremely likable protagonist and made me really interested in the stories he had to tell. Which brings to Pi's main story, his story of how he was trapped on a lifeboat for 227 days with a Royal Bengal Tiger and survived. After his family decide to emigrate their zoo to Canada and their cargo ship unexpectedly sinks, Pi is left with no family and is stranded at sea with an assorted array of zoo animals.

 The number of these animals quickly diminishes and it is just Pi and Richard Parker:a tiger originally called Thirsty but after a hunter incorrectly fills out his paper work he is known as Richard Parker. Pi recollects how his father showed him a tiger devouring one of the aforementioned goat when he was very young, which makes him petrified of Richard Parker, but with his determination- and knowledge of zoology Pi asserts his dominance over Richard Parker, by stamping his feet and blowing his whistle very loudly at him, and they have their own sections of the lifeboat. Pi and Richard Parker experience many things together, like a swarm of flying fish, a carnivorous island inhabited by meerkats and a very brutal storm that destroys Pi's raft that he hid on away from Richard Parker.

   Once Pi finishes his story, he tells an alternate version,because it is doubted he is telling the truth, in which the crew and his mother represented the animals and Pi was Richard Parker, but this version doesn't matter as it shows the same messages of growth through adversity and determination under tough times and shows how the truth is irrelative in some cases. Pi's determination is never wavers , even when Pi is forced to break his vegetarianism, and this is partly to do with his strong faith and makes it very likely that after reading this book, the reader will believe in God or have faith in any way possible.

Matthew Trundle (15)