BON'S BOOK CLUB: THE LIFE OF PI
2013 Book Club Schedule
August: Life of Pi by Yann Martel
September: Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls September 26
October: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
November: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
December: We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver'
I apologize a million times for being late on this book club. With the madness of moving and starting a new job and getting hit by a car it was all I could do to remember to eat this month, let alone read a book for book club.
But I guess in some ways that's all just an excuse because when I am really, truly engaged with a book I read no matter what. I find the time because I am hooked on the book and nothing can stop it so when it comes down to it I didn't read Life of Pi on time because I didn't like it enough, and that's the truth.
That's not to say I didn't like Life of Pi, I just didn't like it enough. The first 100 pages are slower than molasses. That being said, I also found them interesting. question mark. Not interesting enough to keep me running back to the book, but interesting enough for me to not want to skip over them. I especially loved Pi's struggle with religion and his desire to follow SO many religions. I loved him because of how open minded he is. The idea of a 12 year old boy being committed to several different religions because he sees good in them is just so endearing to me.
My favorite part about the book is the connection between Pi and Richard Parker. I wonder if I would have read this book a year ago if I would have liked it as much as I do. I like the book because I connect with the human-animal relationship and see it as something that can be very special, but I only feel this way after living with my mom's dog and consequently falling in love with my mom's dog. Before that I wasn't much for animals, so I wonder if I would've thought the book was all just a bunch of hooplah? I love the idea of Pi needing Richard Parker for survival- the complete dependence they have on each other is very sweet.
What did you all think of the ending? I know a lot of people don't like it, as if it seems to discredit everything that happened to Pi. I personally love it. I love when authors give readers a bit of power over the story- as if they are allowing us to help them in writing it. I love that we don't know for sure if the animals are literal or symbolic, but the point is it doesn't matter because the feelings felt from the story are real, and that's what's important. In Tim O'Brien's book The Things They Carried he has a chapter where his daughter asked him if all of his war stories are true. He explains the complexity of the situation because sometimes a story can be more "true" than the truth because it represents so accurately the way that people live, feel, and act. Whether or not it "happened" becomes moot because it represents reality. I love talking about this with my students when we read Things They Carried and usually we just go in circles because the idea is too complex for them to wrap their minds around, "So is it true or not?!?" is the question they always want to know after a 30 minute discussion of how it doesn't matter. Ah, children.
Hopefully it has made some sense to you, and if not that's fine too, but the point is to me it doesn't matter if Pi's story of survival is "real" or not because the story is still real. Whether or not there was a literal tiger on the boat with him the truth is he felt great love and tenderness for animals who in the end saved his life- whether is be literally or symbolically.
I would definitely recommend this book to others, but with the suggestion to read it during a slow time in life. January or February seems the perfect month to digest a book like this, definitely not August when everything is so insane. I loved the prose in the book; I thought the writing was absolutely stunning. It just requires time to read and appreciate. The author rings very true in the way he describes things and maybe that's why I loved it. I also thought the movie did an excellent job of accurately portraying the book.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite excerpts:
People move because of the wear and tear of anxiety Because of the gnawing feeling that no matter how hard they work their efforts will yield nothing, that what they build up in one year will be torn down in one day by others. Because of the impression that the future is blocked up, that they might do all right but not their children. Because of the feeling that nothing will change, that happiness and prosperity are possible only somewhere else.
Alright, now tell me all what you think of the book! If you wrote a post leave the link in the comments and I'll make sure to hop on over and read the review.
AND... get reading for September! September's book is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and we will be discussing it on September 26. It doesn't matter if you've read all of the year's books for book club or none of the books, join in for September!