I just finished reading Life of Pi. Knowing that it was a book about the adventures of a boy and a tiger, I was hugely looking forward to it for two reasons - I love animals and I was reminded of the similarity between the protagonists of the story and my favorite cartoon strip, Calvin and Hobbes. Even as I started reading it, I was quite sure I'd enjoy it. But...I was not completely right.
Let me not beat around the bush....I definitely think it's an extraordinary book. Three things I'll never forget about the book - for the right reasons - the author's wacky sense of humor, his unique and creative use of language in certain parts of the book and nuggets of spiritual wisdom (both hidden and obvious). But I could not, unfortunately, enjoy the book. The reason why I couldn't is something I may never forget but would like to - It is the description of the protagonist's (Pi's) isolated days in the Sea which is what forms the heart (and most) of the book. Being a pure Veggie and an animal lover, I found it utterly gross and gory to read the descriptions of how the Hyena ate up the rest of the animals on the boat and how Pi himself survived later (I don't feel like recalling anything of that bit of the book). And I'd also secretly expected to read a story of a supernatural friendship between the tiger and Pi (C&H's influence, perhaps), which was not really the case.....
I am almost certain that any Veggie or animal lover is bound to skip many chapters of the book in order to avoid reading the gory details of what and how Pi fed himself. So, that's that. Before I got to the chapter where Pi's story gets quite gross, I had a highlighter with which I colored sentences that were brilliant (for the language or for the spiritual message)....but I later ended up jumping paragraphs just to avoid reading things that would have definitely disturbed my mind and stomach. I think I let this fear dominate my intentions to extract the brilliance out of the book for most parts of it. I could hardly take these portions out of my mind and concentrate on the underlying thoughts and messages as most of the book was anyway about Pi's experiences in the Sea. What an extraordinary story of faith, intelligence and determination. But somewhat wasted on me. Sad but true.
Any contradictory views or thoughts to make me realize I could have chosen to have a different kind of experience? Any points that you'd like to share with me so I can salvage some effort that went into finishing the book?