Today is Pi Day…3.14 (and to be even more specific, at 1:59 p.m. today, it will be 3.14159. And I could draw out Pi to the seconds and get even more fanatical, but I won’t. Please thank me in the comment section and leave donations!)
Pi is a number that makes mathematicians happy. When you add an E to it, PIE makes ME happy. But back to Pi. In honor of this mathematically genius day, I’m reviewing the Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I never knew Pi had a life…but once I did, I ran right out and bought his book.
I read this quite a while ago (and my long-term memory is ZILCH when it comes to remembering details), so forgive my bare-bones review. Pi is a Super Agent. He can leap over small buildings in a single bound or equation…he can rip tigers throats out before they do the same to him…he is one crazy number fiend! Pi gets on a boat (weird never ending numbers can do whatever they want—the Captain didn’t dare stop and ask Pi to show his ticket). But the boat sinks and Pi is trapped in the middle of the ocean on a raft with a bunch of animals.
Now if you were floundering helplessly in the middle of the ocean with a Tiger, Orangutan and other wild creatures…and you’re just a number…what would you do?
Pi didn’t get too freaked out about his dire circumstances. He kept the animals entertained by getting them to lose their minds trying to figure him out to the last digit—and that takes quite a while. I don’t think anyone’s accomplished it yet—which gives Pi his Super Hero Status in the Math World.
Did you know that one of the greatest mathematicians of the ancient world, Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212 B.C.), became so engrossed in trying to decipher Pi that he didn’t notice that the Romans had taken over his city? When a Roman soldier approached him, Archimedes yelled, “Don’t touch my circles!” which angered the soldier enough that he pulled out his sword and cut Archimedes’ head off, and went on his merry way.
The lesson to be learned from Archimedes is: Don’t worry about what the trillionth and second digit of Pi is. Who cares? It’s not worth losing your head over, is it?
So back to the Life of Pi. The animals didn’t devour him because they had lots of other things to think about (they were in the same funk that Archimedes was, except, luckily, no Roman soldiers around). Lots of weird things happen to the castaways…but the ending is the weirdest.
I can’t tell you how it ends…because I really haven’t told you how it began. Suffice it to say…Pi really is in this book, but he’s a boy, not a number. His ship does sink and he miraculously survives with a bunch of animals and they don’t eat him. Lots of weird things happen and then it ends…and you put the book down and for weeks you argue with your sister (who read the book as well) about what really happened (because she thinks it’s THIS way, and I think it’s THAT way). Of course, I’m right.
Or am I?
If you haven’t read the Life of Pi, you MUST; it’s a modern classic. Then when you finish, you can fight with everyone else about whose take on the ending is correct. If you’ve already read it, do you agree with my take on it…or my sister’s? (It’s hard to know since I haven’t told you what my take is…but I can’t ruin it for anyone out there who just might NOT have read it. So you’ll just have to guess.)
Happy guessing. No end (haha…that’s in honor of my friend, Pi).
- 5 Stars: Life of Pi (storansl2english.wordpress.com)