From the moment I picked up Life of Pi, I couldn't put it down. The story begins after Pi Patel's adventure/ordeal, explaining to some extent what he did afterwards and how his life turned out in Toronto. He went to university to study religious studies and zoology: the two subjects of his childhood, and also possibly the two subjects that allowed him to survive in the Pacific Ocean.
The next chapter goes back to Pi's early childhood, where he narrates his experiences growing up in Pondicherry, India. Son of a zoo keeper, Pi knows a lot about animals, and the stories told are fascinating. I learnt a lot about the psychology of animals. I also really liked Pi's open mindedness and commitment to various religions. There was a particularly funny part where a Catholic Priest, a Muslim Imam and a Hindu Pandit are arguing over which religion Pi belongs to and insulting each others faiths along the way. Pi has taken an interest in all three and fails to see why this is a problem.
It's hard to talk about the main part of this book without spoiling the story, so apologies if you haven't read/seen it yet! But even the book cover kind of gives it away, so I don't think I'm doing too much of a terrible thing.
The story of how Pi survives living on the lifeboat is exciting and compelling from start to finish. Amazing really, considering the minimal amount of dialogue. The reader is engaged by the great detail in the descriptions of what Pi does, of the relationship with Richard Parker, and of his intense thought processes and emotions.
At the end of the book I wanted to read more about what happened to him after finding dry land. But actually if you revisit the first chapter then you get just that. And so the story is a whole, a never ending circle that can be enjoyed over and over.
I really did love it, and I will definitely read it again.