Publisher: Harvest Books (May 1, 2003 for paperback)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 326 pages
Summary: "The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional--but is it more true?"
Review: This book was assigned to my English 10 honors class and initially my first thought of this book was that it was going to be completely horrible. However, I am happy to report that it was actually a great story!
This isn't your typical English class book. It is fairly recent, written only a couple of years ago instead of the usual book that was published before 1960! The first part of the book is set in the late 70's in Pondicherry, India. Its about a boy with an unusual name; Piscine (sounds almost exactly like pissing), which is French for swimming pool and because kids teased him about it he shorten it to Pi once he got to high school.
Religion plays a major part in this book, even claiming in the beginning that it will make you a believer in God. Pi's family isn't particulary religious but he starts practicing not one but three religions. Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. All he wants to do is love God. Another major part of the story is that his father is a zoo keeper. Pi knows all about animals and which ones are dangerous and whatnot. Later on, Pi and his family decided to move to Canada and so, his father sells what animals he could to other zoos and some of the other animals ride on the ship with the family to Canada.
We get to the second part. The ship sinks. Without giving away all what happens. I'll say this. I couldn't believe all what Pi has to go through on a lifeboat. With a 450 pound BENGAL TIGER! It really is something to read. And although it was good at that point, I'll admit I didn't keep up with my reading after awhile. One of my reading quizzes proves it!! It was getting closer towards the major test (actually, the night before) and I had to read a little more than 100 pages. I do not think I would have actually read all of it if I hadn't heard the others talking about it in class.
Once Pi gets saved (and don't worry, I'm not giving anything away, because you know he lives as there are present tense scenes, which are confusing at first) we learn of a second story that happened while Pi was on the boat. So, its a story within a story and you're left with a question. What story is the truth?!
*oh in case anyone wants to know what I got on the test. 95/100! WHOO!
Favorite character(s): Pi! Such a unique character! I loved his courage and his good heart.
Cover: B. I think the cover definitely fits the book! I think it works for a heroic tale.
Overall: Amazing book! So glad we read this for school. 4 stars.