Life of Pi: Time-Release WHOA-factor

Life of Pi was another quick read. Also, the novelty of having nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no one to see day after day is wearing off, so I’m spending more time reading. I get the sense my life will pretty much be me marking time between Saturdays – football games! – until I leave for Prague in 33 days.

I had kind of bland things to say about Life of Pi when I started writing this post. But as the book sank in and I started to think about it more and put my thoughts into words, it started blowing my mind. Now I’m kind of sitting here in a “WHOA. WHOA how did that…WHOA!” daze. It’s one of those books that has that WHOA!Mindfuck! factor, but it doesn’t set in right away.

I was surprised at how compellingly Martel wrote the story. Considering the fact that the book was 319 pages and the narrator was adrift on a lifeboat for nearly 200 of them, I’m surprised at how not-boring it was. At first I was a restless reader when Pi was on the lifeboat. It was on page 75 or something like that and I had a, “You’re kidding me, what the hell is supposed to happen in this book now?” moment. But somehow it wasn’t boring. It was sort of your typical “I’m stranded, now how do I survive?” narrative, but with a tiger thrown in. I like desert island/castaway stories okay, but I tend to get bored with them pretty quickly. That didn’t happen here.

This is what I wrote before I’d fully grasped the spiritual implications of Life of Pi:
Overall, I liked Life of Pi. It wasn’t the great spiritual reflection/meditation/adventure I’ve heard it is. I mean sure, a big part of Pi’s life is that he practices three religions, but this fact is kind of incidental to the story. His mixing of religious metaphors, stories, and practices throughout the narrative was interesting, but it wasn’t this big, moving, spiritual Thing like some people told me it would be. To be honest, I got way more religiony, spiritually things to think about from Lamb than I did from Pi.

That said, there was a moment near the very end that still has me thinking. I won’t say too much about it, because I don’t want to inadvertently give something away, but Pi says something that’s got me thinking about religion, God, and beliefs. Without giving away too much, the line that’s got me is, “And so it goes with God.”

I can’t discuss my preliminary thoughts about this without giving away the context in which its said, which would in turn give away a pretty mind-blowing-ish part of the book. However, it’s ambiguous enough that I’m really not sure what this line means in terms of religion. The book ends up in such a weird, sort of unexpected place, you guys. It just…

This is where I started to get it:
The more I think about it, the more I think there is a lot of religion-reflection going on in Life of Pi. It actually fits kind of well with something I’ve been thinking about, religion-wise, for awhile now. Whoa. WOW.

As I write this, the whole book is coming together and OH MY GOSH. Wow. WOW. SDFHKF! If I’d read this when I first got it or in my early years of college IT WOULD HAVE ROCKED MY WORLD OFF ITS AXIS! OH MY GOD!

Here is where I get slightly more coherent while staving off a slight existential crisis:
So, in the end, Life of Pi winds up saying some pretty interesting things about religion and how and why we believe what we believe. Some of it comes down to a story that really resonates with us, some of it has to do with how we were raised, and some of it has to do with sheer willpower and imagination.

Rating: *****
Up Next: Choke – Chuck Palahniuk

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