I saw the ads for Life of Pi when it was first published in 2002. A story about a 16 year old boy who was adrift in a life boat with a Bengal tiger seemed a little too fanciful for my reading tastes, so I ignored it.
My daughter, Rachel, read the book recently and enjoyed it so much she mailed it to me. I started the book and couldn't put it down. Yann Martel is such a good story teller that he makes the fanciful plausible. In this tale Pi Patel, a boy who was raised by zoo keepers, establishes himself as the alpha male and stakes out a territory at his end of the life boat. He realizes that he must not only keep himself alive but must provide food and water for the tiger to avoid becoming a meal for the huge cat. It's not just a story about survival on the high seas but also about faith, religion, and our perception of reality. Read this book.