I'm not being trite when I say this book is fabulous. Life of Pi is a fable - the story of a Bengal tiger, a mean hyena ugly without redemption, a feisty orangutan, a short-lived zebra, and the most dangerous animal of all - a 16 year old human. All of them hungry.
The author was hungry when he wrote the tale and he attempted to nourish himself and his readers with lessons in faith, survival, animal instinct and human emotions. 227 days in a 26 foot boat with the barest of supplies, the fiercest of animals, overcoming the most challenging circumstances, Piscine Patel, Pi, learned not just to survive but to find good in bad, hope where there seems to be none.
Where the story falls short is in its bodacious promise to change the way we believe in God. It's just too fantastic to be taken as a challenge or affirmation of beliefs. But maybe that's just me - I didn't buy the spiritual undertones of Lord of the Rings either.
At best, it is an entertaining gem crafted by a skilled, albeit sometimes gimmicky, storyteller with a fearless imagination. If you do not take this too seriously, if you can enjoy the occasional humor, if you just appreciate this for what it is - a fantastic piece of fiction, then it is worth the read. Don't look for anything faith shaking, life-changing, or mind-altering.