Mini-Reviews: Life of Pi, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, and Heart-Shaped Box

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Title: Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel
Pages: 319
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Mariner (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Pub. Date: June 28, 2002 (hardcover); April 21, 2003 (paperback)

This is one of those books that has been on my list forever. It's one of those books that I felt, and other readers have agreed, is one of those books that we should read. Though it was just written in 2002, it has quickly become a modern classic. And with the movie version recently released, and my husband recently reading it, I decided to dig in too. Basically, Pi grows up in India with his parents who own a zoo. The first part of the book is about him exploring other religions. But then they're on a boat that sinks and he ends up in a lifeboat with a tiger, and he has to strategically live in the middle of the ocean without being attacked by a tiger. This book really wasn't for me. I stayed interested enough to keep moving to the next chapter, but I did feel that the time on the lifeboat was sort of drawn out. And there was some graphic detail given regarding some of the animals that I really did not like. Part of what drew me to this book was that I had heard it had this super powerful message in the end; for me it was anticlimactic but maybe because I had built it up so much. I'm glad to say I read this and I felt it was okay, but that's about it.

Title: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
Author: Heidi W. Durrow
Pages: 264
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Algonquin Books (Workman Publishing)
Pub. Date: February 16, 2010

I was drawn to this because of the social issues it was supposed to present about race and class. The main character, Rachel, is biracial. Though it hasn't ever been a significant issue for her, it becomes one after she goes to live with her grandmother subsequent to the death of her mother and siblings when they fall off the top of a building. This book was also the winner of the Bellwether Prize in 2010. Overall, I thought this one was okay. It was narrated from several different points of view. Near the beginning it had a Tayari Jones-esque which is, of course, a great thing, though I didn't feel it maintained this all the way through. I guess I just felt like I wasn't sure exactly what the point was. I think I was expecting a bigger message again. I think I thought I'd relate more. Again, I'm glad I read this one but it didn't blow me away.

Title: Heart-Shaped Box
Author: Joe Hill
Pages: 379
Genre: Horror
Publisher: William Morrow (Harper Collins)
Pub. Date: February 13, 2007

My husband chose this as our joint read for Halloween this past year. I was against it at first because ghosts and the lot scare me more than other scary things. But eventually I gave in and then ended up having the opposite reaction in that this book hardly scared me at all. I mentioned it in an earlier post, but I think that with this type of book there is a degree of cheesiness to it that takes away from the scariness. Basically, the premise of this is that an old rock star buys a dead man's suit to add to his collection of macabre paraphernalia, only to learn that the ghost of the previous owner comes with the suit and this ghost is out to get him. It was okay. I've read praise for Joe Hill (son of Stephen King) saying his work is better than his father's -- I'm not convinced yet. However, I enjoyed this as a Halloween read with the hubby but wouldn't have regretted not reading it otherwise.


Sandy Nawrot said...

I loved Pi the first time I read it because I KNEW NOTHING. Then I re-read it for a book club and I found it much less enjoyable. So I think you are probably right about going into the book with knowledge and expectations. And I really enjoyed Heart Shaped Box. It was cheesy, and creepy and twisted, but I never took it too seriously. I would classify it as creepy fun.

Jennifer @ Mrs Q Book Addict said...

I never finished The Life of Pi. I really couldn't get into it. I did enjoy The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.

Meg @ A Bookish Affair said...

I read Life of Pi a couple years ago. It's one of those books that really sticks with you because the story is so memorable!

Zibilee said...

I listened to Life of Pi a long, long time ago, and loved it because the narrator was perfect, and I also knew nothing going in. I recently saw the movie, and it was kind of anti-climactic for me. I liked the audio version better.

As far as the two other books go, I have them, just haven't read them yet, but I loved Joe Hill's second book, Horns, a lot. He is super weird, and that makes me happy! :)

Nice set of reviews today, Jenny! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on them all!

Ti said...

Regarding Girl Who Fell, I listened to that one on audio and I swear I came close to tossing it tight out of the car at one point. It was okay, as you said but the reader on audio was not very good. Reminded me of nails on a chalkboard.

Pi - Never read it but I read his other book and my first instinct was to love it and I said that in the review but months later I hated it! Weird reaction.

softdrink said...

I have Heart-Shaped Box on the shelf for my intro to Hill. Judging by the blurbs on the back of his books, and the few bits I read of them in the store, he's a lot weirder than dad. And that's saying something.

Jenners said...

I'm sorry that you didn't fall for Life of Pi. I really really loved it. I loved the movie too. Maybe that would work better for you -- the visuals are amazing!

Juju at Tales of said...

Sorry to hear the first two didn't blow you away. I've wondered about them.

You and your hubs read together? That's aweeesome!

Athira said...

I keep thinking I should read Life of Pi but I've heard the same things about the book that you have mentioned in your review, so I'm not sure I will feel up to reading it. Great thoughts!

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