Read Harder: Spiritual Journey
Title: Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel
No. of pages: 460
Buy it here!
Buy it here!
One of the read harder challenges for this month was to read a book where the central character goes on a spiritual journey.
Now I know that Life of Pi was a major motion picture and got a lot of awards for acting. I didn't watch the full movie at the time, just a couple of clips when I was flying. At the time, it did not seem in the slight bit interesting and it definitely was not my cup of tea.
I've said this time and again, but seriously this challenge has helped me get out of my comfort zone and discover genres and books I wouldn't normally have picked up.
Now back to Life of Pi.
The book tells the story of Piscine Patel aka Pi. Pi grows up in a zoo with his small loving family who supports him as he tries to figure out who he is. On their journey to Canada, the family's ship sinks leaving Pi as the sole human survivor, stuck on a small lifeboat with an orangutan, a hyena, a zebra and a Bengal tiger.
It sounds fantastical, doesn't it?
How is that even possible?
How did he survive the ship first and then how did he survive these animals for 227 days?
For me, it wasn't the story that made me fall in love with this book, it was the underlying themes and lessons Pi teaches us through his actions. We grow and develop and learn with Pi which makes him such a lovable relatable character.
My favourite relationship in the book was definitely the one between Pi and Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger. They seem to be very alike in nature and despite the latter being dinner for the former. They have a relationship forged through respect and survival which is really beautiful, and I can honestly say that many human beings are not lucky enough to have this relationship with the ones they love. A relationship of mutual understanding and respect can take you a long way.
Something very important to remember is that this book drags at times. But if it didn't it wouldn't be true to itself. Pi spends 227 days at sea with no human company and no way to entertain himself. We feel his boredom and despair as we read, and rightly so. My advice would be to keep moving forward, just like Pi.
I am very aware that this review is getting lengthy but there is one last topic I want to touch on before I sign off.
And that is religion as a concept within this book.
Pi is a unique person in his village because he has multiple religions. When told this isn't possible he questions why and continues to drive home his point. In the end, he succeeds and he continues being part of all religions. Pi's view on this is that religion shouldn't separate and divide, it should bring people together. Pi talks about how different practices from different religions provide him with a spiritual calmness because that's what works for him. He sees the world through very innocent eyes and I think sometimes we forget how simple it could be.
Overall I absolutely loved this book and I would highly highly recommend to everyone.
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