Sunday, March 27, 2011

Life of Pi, My Review

Life of PiLife of Pi by Yann Martel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Note:  this review does have spoilers.  If you haven't read the book and you plan to, don't read this review.  It will make your reading more enjoyable to not know how it turns out.

Pi is a nickname for the main character, whom you meet while he is young and in school, and where the reason he later gives himself the nickname is fleshed out. This book is about his family, who run a zoo, decide to move to Canada and sell the animals to other zoos. They board as ship, with animals in tow, which ultimately sinks and Pi and four animals end up on a lifeboat.

Told in three parts; early life before the move, life on the boat, life after rescue, you almost have to rate each part separately as they are so different.

The first part gives you background on his family and the zoo, him, and his ultimate following of three religions at one time. Some of this was hard to follow only because I wasn't familiar with much of the religious wording used. All the Hindu gods and stories were foreign to me. Just as to him, wandering into a Christian church and seeing the statue of Christ on the cross was a foreign concept to him. Why would a God allow himself to be put through this he wonders. None of the Gods he worshiped would do this. They would use their Godly powers to overcome this adversity as a proper God should. Ultimately he learns form the preacher that Love is the reason.

The middle part was my favorite because it was the most interesting and riveting. At times it was horrific as you can imagine how a hyena would interact with an injured zebra and a female orangutan in a confined space. The most interesting part is how Pi decides that he needs to train the tiger so he will be able to survive. Quite a resourceful boy he makes do and ultimately survives the ordeal.

The last part was strange in a way. Officials from the Japanese shipping company whose ship sank come to interview him to try and find out why their ship sank. During the interviews they had a hard time believing that this story was real. How could a boy survive on a boat this long with a tiger on board. No one had seen the tiger in the jungle since they hit land. How could this be? Finally Pi tells of a different story, one which the animals are really symbolic of people who were on the boat. This story he tells to them because it is what they want to hear. One of human savagery not of a boy's triumph over a wild animal. It makes you wonder; which story is really true? In the final report the interviewer goes with the tiger story and that is the story that I want to believe as well.

This book has some hard things to read in it. At times he talks about cruelty to animals at the hands of zoo keepers and stupid humans who do stupid and unbelievable things.

Aside from that this is a very enjoyable book. I read it over a weekend because I was so interested in finding out what happened.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Me and my Treadmill

So I am sitting here after spending 45 min. on my treadmill.  My legs have tiny explosions throughout as my muscles relax from the effort.  I kind of have a love/hate relationship with my treadmill.  I enjoy walking and want to work up to running but the process of getting there kind of sucks.  I have never been a runner and running with a 40 something year old bladder and the added weight isn't much fun. The reason I want to work up to running?  You can get a higher calorie burn in a faster amount of time than with walking.   Fortunately my treadmill is in the family room with the TV.  My hubby hooked up a long cord for my ear buds so I can listen to a show on my DVR or a movie on Netflix without bothering the rest of the family.

I have started back on my weight loss journey after taking a break for many months.  (broken foot, holidays, sinus infection for 3 months and 4 antibiotics, antibiotic induced tendonitis)  Anyhoo, it always amazes me how fast you can lose fitness when you don't exercise. 

I also started using my Spark People tracking for my nutrition/fitness/weight loss.  I absolutely hate counting calories and this is the place I have found that makes it easiest for me.  It comes with reports that you can view in graphs or pie charts that show your progress.  ooohhh, pictures!

I had to put in my weight and measurements in when I started tracking and imagine my dismay when the little arrow went the wrong way.  I have gained weight since I was doing this about a year ago.  It is frustrating when you realize you are the kind of person who can't trust yourself with unconscious eating.  As much as I hate calorie counting I am beginning to realize that it is something I will have to do for for the rest of my life if I want to get my weight down to where I want it and then maintain it.

It is kind of like marriage after dating.  You don't just say, oooh, now I'm married, I don't have to work on it any more.  You can't just lose the weight and think you don't have to work on it any more. 

So here I go, starting up a process that I have started many times before, hoping this time I will stick with it and do it right!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, my review

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and GainUnbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, what an amazing story. Portia de Rossi gives you an extremely personal view of a someone dealing with an eating disorder.

As she says in her book she didn't start out to be an anorexic, it just snuck up on her in the guise of a healthy diet and a professional attitude.

Her pursuit to be loved, admired and to feel worthy of her position as a TV star lead her down a path of unhealthy eating and an obsession with food and exercise. Her entire day, apart from about three - half days per week, was spent in the pursuit of counting calories, burning calories and trying to lose weight. She was obsessed with food. She was obsessed with exercise.

The truly sad thing is that this way of thinking started when she was a young girl. As a 12 year old model she learned about binging/purging, starving and ways to lose pounds in preparation for a shoot.

She has to win and be the best at everything. That meant that being a size 8 when all the sample sizes were size 6 wasn't good enough. She had to be perfect and fit into the sample sizes. If a size 6 was good then a size 4 was better. If people were thinner than her then she wasn't thin enough. She was obsessed with being good enough.

This paragraph really struck me:
"I don't now where this pressure came from. I can't blame my parents because it has always felt internal. Like any other parent, my mother celebrated the A grades and the less-than-A grades she felt there was no need tell anybody about. But not acknowledging the effort that ended in a less than perfect result impacted me as a child. If I didn't win, then we wouldn't tell anyone that I had even competed to save us the embarrassment of acknowledging that someone else was better. Keeping the secret made me think that losing was something to be ashamed of, and that unless I was sure I was going to be the champion, there was no point in trying. And there was certainly no point to just having fun."

This was very fast read for me because the story was so compelling and unbelievably interesting. It is amazing that a woman who seemingly had everything, beauty, fame, wealth, felt like she was nothing.

If you want to see what goes on inside the head of someone with an eating disorder, you should read this book.

If you want to learn some of the signs of an eating disorder, you should read this book.

If you just want to read a compelling story, you should read this book.

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