I love this book. It was gifted to me by the owner of The Creekside Paradise, a B&B where I once spent three days convalescing before a steep trek up into the Smoky Mountains. She said she’d found the movie mesmerizing, but the book rather dull, and that I could take it so long as I promised not to bring it back. I’m glad that I did.

When you live out of a pack, each item you carry needs to be worth its weight several times over, and in that way Life of Pididn’t disappoint. The story — a boy lost at sea, stuck in a life boat with a Bengal tiger — is fantastic, and the author’s prose is bursting with color and rife with meaning. Many times I found myself wondering if Yann Martel himself had ever been lost at sea. How else to explain how insightful and vivid his writing was?

In the very beginning of the book an elderly Indian man by the name of Francis Adirubasamy makes a promise that is, admittedly, a tall order: He promises of a story that will make you believe in God. Whether or not such a story is told I’ll leave for you to decide. But I will say this… If you’ve ever faced enormous conflict, and something in you disappeared during that struggle, you will enjoy perusing a copy of Life of Pi. Shipwrecked and drifting is a surprisingly good metaphor for many of life’s quandaries, and Pi (or the tiger) may just teach you a little something surprising about yourself.