A few friends of mine and myself are in a book club. For our first book, we read The Life of Pi. I think it was a really good book to read as a group. It provided a lot of discussion.
At the beginning of the book you're told that this story will make you believe in God.
The first half of the book was this boy whose father owned a zoo, looking for God. He searched through Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. He practiced all three religions at the same time. It led to a lot of discussion for our group. Good talk of religion and how it affected Pi and how the world saw him.
The second half of the book involves the family's zoo closing and the family moving to Canada. They sell the animals to different zoos all over the world and some of the animals are taken by boat with the family to North America. The boat sinks and Pi ends up alone on the lifeboat... with a few of the animals. A zebra, a tiger, a hyena, an orangutan are the major players in this story. So, for the second half of the book, Pi has to survive on the boat with these "wild" critters.
I'm really glad we chose this book for book club, and I think that it sparked a lot of good discussion. I probably would not have finished reading it if I wasn't leading the discussions. Let me rabbit trail for a minute:
When I was in high school, we read Jack London's "Call of the Wild". We were informed at the beginning of the book to "pay attention because this part would be important". For those of you that are trying to remember the beginning of the book, it's about the dog sledder who is coming into town from the woods and he is dragging a frozen corpse behind him (my theory is that it's the dead body from "To Build a Fire"). For the rest of the book, I tried to puzzle out how that first scene was important. When I finished the book, I still had no answers. I asked my teacher about it, and she didn't recall stating that it would be important. This was exceedingly frustrating to me because I was given a challenge I could not complete.
Back to "The Life of Pi". At the beginning of the book, the reader is told that this is a story that will make you believe in God. I read that story. The challenge was set. For the second half of the book, God is mentioned less than 5 times. All that talk of religion and finding God in the beginning and I have no idea how it connected. This is that same frustration I felt after reading "Call of the Wild". I feel it about this book.
Overall, I really liked how Yann Martel tells the story. He has a way with words that can really make you think. The story left something to be desired. I am not thrilled with the book, but it has things that I appreciate. Would I recommend it to other folks? Probably not.