The Life of Pi

Life of Pie

It’s still with me. I watched the Life of Pi two days ago and I can’t stop thinking about it.

By night it flashes through the filmy velvet of my dreams. By day my head is a rapturous kaleidoscope of luminous fish and sweet Indian music. And my heart is still breaking for the tears of Pi.

I read the book five years ago. Yann Martel not only told a remarkable tale, but he told it gloriously. And with extraordinary insight. These were the thoughts going through my head at the time: A boy who believed in all religions? Fascinating! A boy who survived at sea that long? Fascinating! A tiger called Richard Parker? Awesome!

For months after I was left in the delicious doubt of wondering whether the story was true. I so badly wanted it to be true! A powerful fiction writer will make the reader feel that way. Like there just might be a sliver of a chance. Just maybe…

Perhaps I’m attracted to this story because of Pi’s survival. Although my survival was not as dramatic or epic as his, I still feel a kinship to him. Us survivors have radars like that. His tears were mine all over again.

Life of pie 2

Perhaps the story came alive because I’ve seen those choppy seas. I wrote about a boat journey and those luminous fish in this story. Growing up in Indonesia was a series of survival stories. The sheer insanity of the danger is baffling in hindsight. In fact, my sisters and I almost drifted out into the massive mouth of the Pacific when I was 9. We were larking about on a small canoe off an island in Sulawesi.  The strong currents were pulling us out. Onshore my dad waved madly to us to get our attention. We thought he was just being friendly. Hi Dad! we waved back. I wish I could thank that Indonesian fisherman for paddling out to us. He saved our lives.

But back to the book. I adored it. Except for one little detour. I don’t know why it bothered me so much. It was the mangrove island. Swarming with meerkats. Poisoned with acidic vegetation. But, for some reason the movie interpreted this bit really well. And in the context of a magical tale of unbelievable proportions, it didn’t seem too out of place at all. Most importantly I remembered the reason for it. It was a temporary refuge. It gave Pi a rest on his journey.

The movie reminded me of all the things I loved about this book. And the sweetest moment was when I remembered the importance of Pi’s relationship with Richard Parker. I had forgotten how keeping the tiger alive had in fact kept Pi alive. I had forgotten about the unceremonious good-bye. I had forgotten about Pi’s broken heart.

The most important thing in life? To say a proper good-bye. To know you were loved.

And because we never know when it is the the last time we see someone, it makes me want to make every day a clear and bold declaration of love. I want my dear ones to know they’re deeply loved. If I remembered to do this every morning I’m sure I’d be living my best life yet.

I’ll still go on hoping Pi’s story is true. It’s the kind of hope that keeps me feeling alive. It makes me believe anything is possible. I hope I never let it go.



*Images courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.


    • Deb says

      Jen, I think you’d love the book! I wonder what it would be like to read after watching the movie – I’m trying to imagine that… but I’m sure it would be fantastic! So many extra details.

  1. says

    Wasn’t it beautiful Deb? I loved it as much as I loved the book. Magical, fantastical, symbolic… Since seeing it I have had vivid dreams about it, and the messages it has. Glad to know I am not alone in how it stirred it me. X
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    • Deb says

      Agree totally, Naomi! I’m trying to remember other stories that have done this. Nothing comes to mind at the moment, but I’m sure you could remind me of your list when I next see you. :)

  2. Rachael says

    I never managed to read the book and so went to the movie with no idea of the actual story. I am sad to say I’m not a person of faith and so was terribly disappointed when Pi told the story of what really happened after the shipwreck. I too wanted the story to be true. Reflecting further though there is a lot to think about regarding faith and the power of God in the lives of many.

    • Deb says

      Hi Rachael! I was a little disappointed too – but more that he bothered to tell the second story. The second one wasn’t true – he completely made it up to appease the Japanese insurance guys. But it was also mean to be an analogy of the animals on the boat. In the book it was a minor twist/diversion at the end. The overall feeling was that the tiger story was the true one. But clearly none of it is true! Have I confused you much?! Yep, a lot to reflect on for sure.

    • Deb says

      Carly! I’m sorry you had the seasick association with the movie – but so glad the movie was good enough to stay with you. The scenery was magnificent, I agree. x

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