Life of Pi Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Life of Pi

A teenaged boy discovers the power of storytelling to make life bearable. Early on, he renames himself "Pi". While still a teenager in his native India, he finds himself deeply attracted to not one but three religions. He becomes a devoted follower of all of them, much to the consternation of his religious teachers. His father is a zookeeper, and growing up at the zoo, he comes to see it as a place of refuge for the animals, away from the stress and brutality of life in the wild.
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The heart of the story begins when his family decides to immigrate to Canada. While crossing the Pacific with their animals, their ship sinks. Much of the remainder of the book consists of Pi telling how he was left alone to survive on a life boat with a zebra, hyena, orangutan and a Bengal tiger. Through courage and resourcefullness, Pi manages to make it back to land after 227 days at sea. Although the story is tragic, it is told in a humorous tone that makes the ordeal bearable.

The review of this Book prepared by Mike Rowe

Pi Patel is a boy who lives in India with his family, who own the Pondicherry Zoo. On a family vacation, Pi learns about Islam and Christianity, and though he has been brought up as a devout Hindu, he practices all three religions.

Pi's family decides to move to the U.S., and they must take a ship across the Atlantic. Many of the zoo animals are also onboard--they have been sold to zoos in both the U.S. and Canada. However, something goes terribly wrong not far into the trip, and the ship sinks.

Pi, a zebra, a chimpanzee, a hyena, and a Bengal tiger are the only survivors on the lifeboat. In the end, it is only Pi and the tiger, Richard Parker, who survive, and who must somehow stay alive long enough to reach land.
The review of this Book prepared by Jen

This book is about a boy nicknamed Pi who gets stuck on a boat with a tiger. He is shipwrecked and the tiger has eaten everyone except for him. Because food is lacking and he is alone, Pi begins to think that the tiger can talk to him and he kind of loses his mind for a few days. Later, Pi finds an island and decides that he likes it so he leaves the boat. It isn't until later that he decides that the island isn't the best place for him to stay since the meerkats living there attack him and strange plants on the island make the ground acidic. He finally reaches Mexico and tells some people about what happened to him but they don't believe that he was able to talk to the tiger, so he changes his story so that the animals are replaced with people. Eventually, he finds he is alone and is sent to a foster home.
The review of this Book prepared by Stephanie

This novel is very much a survival story. It is about an Indian boy whom has been shipwrecked with his family. His family was trying to move to Canada from India with the family business, a zoo. They take all the necessary animals but the ship sinks and Pi (main character) finds himself stuck on a lifeboat with an orangutang, a hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, and a huge 450 lb. Bengal Tiger. The plot tells how Pi survives with all these animals. Later, the only members of the boat are Pi and the tiger. A main part of the story is also about how the tiger and Pi eventually learn that they cannot survive without the other as odd as that sounds.
The review of this Book prepared by Michael C. Springer

Life of Pi is a story about a very talented indian teenager named Piscine who is the son of a local zookeeper. He struggled to choose a religion for his own but wanted to be a hindu, a musilim and a christan.

Now sixteen years old, Pi's father decided to immigrate to Canada. He sold most of the animal in the zoo but took a few with him on the long journey in the Pacific ocean. The ship sank with only 5 survivers on a life boat. Pi survived with accompanied with a zerbra, a hynea, an orangutan and a 450 pounds tiger. One by one they died and left Pi and the tiger on the life boat in the middle of nowhere. Pi will have to use all the survival technique and everything he knows about tiger to stay alive. The tiger gave him faith and he gave it food and water to survive. They lived for 277 days and landed in Mexico.
The review of this Book prepared by Ralphy

"Life of Pi" on the surface is a young man's struggle for life with a set of unusual elements - as if being stranded in the Pacific in a lifeboat isn't enough, he also has a myriad of wild animals, including a 450 pound Royal Bengal tiger, to deal with. Part One of the book gives the reader insight into this young man, his beliefs, his religious convictions, his place in his world.
The review of this Book prepared by Julie

Piscine Molitor Patel, named after a swimming pool, is born into a zoo-management family in Pondicherry, southern India. He goes by "Pi." As a boy, he becomes a Hindu, Muslim, and Christian, much to his family's consternation. In the mid 1970s, his father decides to sell the zoo and all its animals and move the family to Canada, but during the Pacific crossing, their ship sinks and all hands are lost except Pi, who finds himself alone in a lifeboat with a wounded zebra, an orang-utan, a hyena, and 450-pound Bengal tiger known as Richard Parker. Most of the animals go quickly, but Pi has to figure out how to survive what will turn out to be a 227-day voyage while sharing a small boat with a tiger. This incredible 2001 novel, beautifully written, was a bestseller and won the Man Booker Prize.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Pi Patel is a young boy who faced death in the arms of a tiger when they were stranded alone together. He was with the tiger for 227 days at sea. He believed in God. He started to live in Pondicherry, India where he grew up with his family including his father, a zookeeper. He lived with ferocious wild animals. When they were to go to Canada, the ship sank and so he was left in a raft with a hyena, an orangutan and a Bengal Tiger.
The review of this Book prepared by marie

The Life of Pi tells the story of the boy Piscine Patel and his oceanic adventures on a life boat with a zebra, a hyena and a fully grown bengal tiger called Richard Parker. As the adventure continues, the tiger becomes an increasing problem. Will experience, cunning and ingenuity save our
young hero from disaster?
The review of this Book prepared by bonzai

This is the story of Pi Patel, a young boy who is abandoned at sea with a bunch of animals from his father's zoo. Pi must learn to make friends with a Bengal tiger and in the process he learns many things about himself and the nature of faith. This book can also be seen as a religious allegory.
The review of this Book prepared by Deidre Woollard

This book has three parts. In the first part, Pi (Piscine) Patel tells us of his childhood in India and of his two main interests: zoology and religion. Pi is a curious boy who pratices Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Pi's father is a zookeeper in India and the family decides to move to India. They get on a boat with some of the animals they have sold from the zoo. One night Pi wakes up to find that there is a storm and the boat is sinking. He is thrown into a lifeboat with the following companions: a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450 lb. Bengal Tiger.
The main part of the book is told by Pi to explain how he survived on the ship for 227 days with his companions.

The review of this Book prepared by michali

This book won the Booker Prize of 2002. It is the story of an Indian boy called Piscine or Pi for short. In the first part of the book Pi describes the zoo his father runs in Pondicherry India. He also tells how he worships three religions at once Hindu, Christian and Muslim. In the second part of the book Pi and his family set sail with many zoo animals on a ship bound for Canada. Alas the ship is shipwrecked and only Pi, a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a huge Bengali tiger survive in a life boat. The terror of being alone at sea with a tiger is beautifully evoked with page-turning tension. Tiger and boy survive storm, draught and lean times to eventually stumble across an island made of carniverous plants and infested with meerkats. However finally they land in Mexico and Pi is rescued. In the third part of the book Pi is questionned by investigators from the shipping-line who don't believe his tale. So he then reveals what may be the macabre truth the animals were actually four humans who died or killed each other. It is left for the reader to decide the real story.
The review of this Book prepared by John Marcel

Harcourt, May 2002, 25.00, 319 pp.
ISBN: 0151008116

In Pondicherry, India, Piscine “Pi” Patel enjoys his childhood as the son of the local zookeeper means plenty of fun things to do. In that role, Pi learns a great deal about the wild beasts that his father keeps. Though a Hindu, Pi also finds pleasure in learning about Christianity and Islam and willingly practices the three belief systems over the objections of his family and religious leaders.

Now sixteen, Pi's father decides to relocate to Canada. His dad sells most of the animals, but takes a few with them on their sea voyage. However, disaster strikes with the ship sinking. Pi accompanied by a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra and Richard Parker the 450-pound Bengal share a raft. Richard eliminates the other animals leaving the raft to Pi and him. With water everywhere and no land in sight, Pi will have to use everything he knows about tigers to stay alive. If he makes it to land, Pi wonders whether to tell the truth about his harrowing adventure or make up something more comfortable for the authorities.

THE LIFE OF PI uses incredible images to provide readers with a powerful well-written allegory about life and religion. Pi is an intriguing lead protagonist, but must share top billing with his ocean traveling crony the fascinating Richard the tiger hearted. Yann Martel's story line is extremely deep yet quite simple as if Rudyard Kipling wrote The Old Man and the Sea.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Life of Pi

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   very sensitive (sigh) Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Animal story    -   Yes Kind of animal:    -   lion/tiger etc. Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   religious issues Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Coping with loss of loved one(s)    -   Yes Loss of...    -   parents Exploring into the wild    -   Yes kind of story    -   water adventure

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Indian Indian


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   India Ice Caps/Sea?    -   Yes Where?    -   Ocean Water?    -   Yes Water:    -   lifeboat    -   lost at sea

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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