Initially, I did not love this story, but by the end, I had a serious change of heart. I think the problem is that the story doesn’t actually start until about 1/3 to almost 1/2 of the way into the book. This left me feeling like there was no story and no plot. Had I begun reading in print, instead of listening on audibook in the car, there’s a strong possibility I would have quit right before this book became dark, gruesome, and brutal, which was far more interesting.
At times, the storytelling is long-winded, a bit preachy, and even tedious. It lacks subtlety and often hits you over the head with points, instead of letting you have a-ha moments. However, I have frequently found myself thinking about the different things I read in this story, so while some of it exhausted me, other parts clung to me.
My suggestion is to push through the beginning, because things get far worse for Pi Patel, which makes the story much better. Honestly, when it goes into the endless chatter about religions in the beginning, you could probably skip 30-40 pages there and never be missing any parts of the real story. Had they started the book almost 100 pages later, it would be far better, though the commentary on zoos in the beginning is interesting, even if it’s a bit lecture-like.
From the halfway mark to the end, I was mostly captivated. The author still had moments where he kept repeating the same thing over and over and over again, ad nauseam, but by then, it felt more like a stylistic choice to drive his point home, though I could have done with a bit less of the pounding me over the head with things I already knew and understood.
There were many things I enjoyed about this unexpected read, and I am glad I persevered. There’s quite an interesting story hidden inside all the excess.