This was not a book I would have normally picked up off the shelf to read on my own. I joined a book club about 6 months ago to help me broaden my reading selections, and this was the book for the month of March 2010. I started reading this having no idea what it was about, hadn’t even read the back flap or heard anything about it prior. After the end of the story, I still wasn’t sure why I had read this book other then it was for the club.
After the real conflict and central story of the book picks up mid-way through, I started to think I was going to find out why I was being told this narrative, but by the end, I was still somewhat disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it was an interesting read, minus some of the religious discussion I just wasn’t interested in, but I kept waiting for a “ah ha!” moment and it just never came. There were some things I did enjoy about it; I liked the concept of the main character, Pi, just wanting to love God in as many ways as he could. I think the message about not limiting oneself to worshiping by the constructs of just one religious practice was subtly powerful. I think this can be applied to not just loving God in particular, but in loving anything or anyone. There are no rules as to what is the right way to love. One should just be able to express themselves as the love inspires them (within reason, not advocating bestiality here). I did also really enjoy the descriptions and observations about the zoo keeping and animal behavior given throughout. Some of the lurid descriptions of the violence however, I could have done without. About three-quarters of the way through the book, I was thinking I might recommend it to my father, as he is a great lover of big cats and I was of the mind that he might enjoy the interactions between Pi and Richard Parker, but I am not sure he would care for the religious context or the egregious amounts of gore contained within. Overall, I am not disappointed in having read this book, but I have been trying to think, and I am not sure there is a context where I could see recommended it to anyone. All in all, a very well written tale of tragedy and overcoming extreme odds, with a very multifaceted main character, but just not my cup of tea.