For me, books always best the movies that are based on them. However, I haven’t seen this one to know for sure.
My copy of Life of Pi is the 2001 paperback version, given to me by my mom when it first came out. I never passed the first twenty pages and have trucked this book–like so many others–around for years. But with the movie now out, it was time for me to finish the read.
The story itself kept me reading, though I am not one for survivalist island tales usually. As a kid, I did enjoy The cay. Pi Patel must persevere after a ship wreck for which he and a few zoo animals are survivors; although it is quickly him and a tiger that remain. A struggle of balance and obtaining resources fills Pi’s time as he hopes and strives for salvation.
All is not as it seems, which calls into question reality versus fantasy especially in a struggle to survive. Survival is the crux of the book, and somewhat faith and belief in God. Interestingly, in the first third, Pi ruminates for a bit on religion and he purposefully practices Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. Is this a cop out or an equalizer approach? Also, the portions about his family’s zoo and how the animals are dealt with when the family moves abroad could provide interesting discussion.
Back to the movie version– based on previews, it looks like there is an injected love story with Pi. In the novel, it just focuses on him since his life is at stake and occasionally his family. But Hollywood and especially the majority of American movie goers want love to triumph. Fair enough. If done well, it could add to the story. Now endings usually change and it is likely this one will too but how much will show whether they stay true to the purpose of the book or not. Most, I am guessing, will be the same as the book but how it is handled could vary.
As you might have guessed, I read books before seeing movies and make an effort to separate the two in my mind because they do differ, and usually a lot in key aspects. This will likely be good as a movie, overall.
Recommended?: Maybe. If the premise sounds interesting then yes, read it. However, I don’t this this is one of those universal books that everyone should read. It would be great for a book club, as I already touch on some of the questions and topics that arise for discussion from this book.
Let me know what you think of the movie, especially if you’ve read the book. I’ll probably wait until its out on DVD.