So I finally caught up with the rest of the literary world and read Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. I think it took me so long because of its promise to “make you believe in God.” But I did get over that – mostly, I think, because of the lure of getting stuck in a lifeboat with a tiger. I’ve always liked tigers.
My fears weren’t justified, however, because despite this being one of the better books I think I’ve ever read, it did not make me believe in God (at least, any more than the extremely limited belief I already have). But it did reaffirm to me why God is important for other people to believe in. While the belief that things are predestined and watched by some all-powerful being does nothing for me, it is certainly necessary for certain people to go through their lives (with or without getting lost at sea).
This book did, however, make me believe in zoos.
My only complaint is that I don’t think Martel should have included the last few chapters, when Pi is resting in a Mexican hospital. The whole interview process seems like it is only included to cement the whole God-belief theme, which was doing nothing for me. Instead I wish this had been a simple narrative with no fiction/nonfiction, belief/non-belief comparison at the conclusion. Just give me the story, don’t hand me the interpretation. As if the reader didn’t wonder already if the story was plausible. But part of the joy of fiction is throwing reality away. That’s the fun part. At least, that’s the part I’m reading for.