Firstly, I have to put my hands up and admit something. I didn't pick up Life of Pi because I wanted to. I didn't continue reading until the last solemn word because I enjoyed it. I read Life of Pi because I thought I should. It was written by Yann Martel and published in 2001, twelve whole years ago. It won a prestigious Man Booker Prize a year later. It was catapulted to the lofty heights of 'modern classic', and subsequently turned into a feature film in 2012. And so you might think that with this mind set that I didn't enjoy it. I hated it. I got nothing from reading this book apart from being able to add it to a list of 'modern classics I have read'. But that is far from the truth. This is one of the simplest stories you have ever read. Piscine Molitor Patel is stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean for months. With a tiger. Through the tool of first person narrative, themes of growth through adversity, life as a story, and what it means to be human, are interwoven. In this way this fiction book touches on one of the biggest lessons that I learnt during my anthropology degree, more than any other; that reality is the roaming narrative that we each write for ourselves and continually evolve. We create our own meaning. We define our own lives. And that is why I am grateful for this book. Barack Obama was too.
Carpe Diem xx