Thursday, November 10, 2011


- Yann Martel -

This is one of those books I've been hearing about for years. It has won a Mann Booker award, it is always on people's lists of favourite books, a recommendation for a book club book...and to top it off it was mentioned on one of my favourite TV shows Corner Gas. That funny episode where they form a bookclub and Lacey doesn't believe Brent could have read such a high brow literary book. Well, if he read it so could I! Why not, we had a copy of this book in our bookshelf downstairs, one of the many treasures from the 'box of books for $5' from that wonderful auction, where it was just waiting to be read.

All this hype gave me great expectations...I mean, especially if the book was recommended on a sarcastic Canadian comedy show. And (drum roll) ... the book did not live up to all this enthusiastic chatter. It was well written, no argument there, but the whole plot seemed very short and uninspiring.

In a sentence the plot goes: boy gets stuck in lifeboat with a tiger for hundreds of days floating in the middle of the ocean. So, there is the survival aspect (which I found slightly interesting), the fear aspect (what, with a tiger only 10 feet away from you), and the hours of lonely solitude to reflect on life and religion (the main part of the story I found boring!). I guess I'm more partial to action - no storming of castles on the backs of Dragons in this book. The ending did bring the book up a notch. It's a surprise so I won't spoil it for you.

You could tell the book was written by a storyteller. By that I mean definitely falls under literature, where one thing really means another. Obviously there is deeper meaning in everything, and I'm sure if you spent some time analyzing, like what or who the Tiger represents or what the heck that magic meerkat island was supposed to have to do with anything, the book would be much richer and a more worthwhile experience. I did not do that, nor could not come up with anything that made any sense...I'm thinking it has to do with religion. There is a lot of comparisons between the worlds religions. This is a subject I have very little knowledge or interest in.

What I did like was the Canadian connection. Had no idea this was written by a Canadian and is in part a 'Canadian' book. The lifeboat boy is headed to Canada, Winnipeg to be exact, before he is stranded on the ocean. Just surprised me when I started reading it.
I guess I'm mostly mad that my expectations were set really really high and then I was left feeling disappointed. If I take a neutral step back and revisit the book, it was ok overall, I wouldn't recommend it, but I can see the appeal of it for some.

Rating: Do not read.

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