” I have a story that will make you believe in God.”
I’m not sure if this story made me believe in God, per say, but it did make me believe in a persons will to live. Pi Patel boards a cargo ship with his family bound for Canada from their native India; aboard the ship are most of the animals from the family’s zoo, being sold and traded so the family will be able to survive in their new home. Tragedy strikes when the cargo ship starts to sink and Pi is thrown in a lifeboat, he thinks for his own good. He finds out later that it was only to save the crewman from a fate worse than drowning. In the lifeboat with Pi are a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger.
I had a hard time with the first part of the book, before the lifeboat, because the book does touch on many religions; and while I find religion fascinating sometimes it just became a little muddled. He is practicing Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism; it can be a little hard to keep them all straight. Which is exactly what all his religious heads say to he and his family. “How can one boy practice THREE religions?” He simply says that God is in all of them and so he doesn’t see the difference, and once in the lifeboat all three religions will prove to preserve his will to survive in their own way.
Once in the lifeboat it is a gritty novel about survival and how, in the most dire of circumstances, you will do anything to keep yourself alive. Pi is a vegetarian and he weeps at the thought of killing a fish, but by the end he is an excellent fisherman. He also realizes that not only must he keep himself from feeling the pangs of hunger but he must also feed the tiger as well. A hungry tiger = a dead Pi, and the bond that forms between the two is nothing short of magical.
There must be something said of the end of the book. This is where the book truly makes you think and begs for a second read as soon as you close it. It is at this point where I believe the story could make you believe in God, but doesn’t every story of survival do that?