This is NOT the case at all...and yet the direction the book takes in much more interesting. First, the book takes its time letting us get to know the character, who lives in India and is the son of a zookeeper. He is very religious, choosing to follow Christianity, Islam and Hindu all at the same time. He also has a name that his classmates make fun of...Piscene. He demands that it be shortened to Pi.
Anyway, when he is cast adrift, we're already totally in this kid's spell, and his ordeal is unbelievably gripping. How he evaluates the tools he has at hand, how he deals with this Tiger on his boat...it's all great. Is the tiger tame, you might ask? Well, let's just say that the voyage starts out with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a tiger. Within days, we're only dealing with a Tiger. You be the judge!
His journey is very long, and it begins to get a bit weird towards the end, and we begin to doubt his sanity or perceptions or something. I have to admit the ending was a bit of a let down. I guess I expected something more conventional and less up-in-the-air. But the ending is fair, in its way, you just have to be willing to adjust your frame of reference to the book. Even with a modest let down at the end, it is still one of the best books I've read in YEARS. And I read a lot! You've never read anything like it. It's also a fast read, and I think would be great for youth (say 14 and above) to read. Should be a classic.
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