My initial feeling before reading this book was that if it was handled incorrectly, it could be a disaster. Worse than being a disaster, it could be deadly boring. Boy, was I right. I guess I’m not sure what wins you the Man Booker Prize, but in this case it must have been a seriously aggressive public relations campaign, cuz this was not a very good book. It promised to “make you believe in God.” I must say, I was certainly praying to him to make this thing go somewhere interesting. Endless pages about this kid avoiding a tiger in a lifeboat got old real quick. While I imagined the book would take a cerebral turn at some point and make some great points about faith and spirit (and anything remotely ethereal), it gets repeatedly bogged down in the mundane details of collecting rainwater, defecation and sleeping conditions. No matter how hard I tried, I could not picture what the hell the author was talking about when describing the boat and how everything on it related to each other (there were oar locks and tarps, boxes, benches, etc.–and none of it made much sense in his description.) Martel so much as admits he’s a “hack” in his introduction, and I think he has somehow elevated himself to “talented charlatan hack” status with this one. I guess I do believe in God after reading this book. I believe he works in mysterious ways by making this bore of a book an award-winning bestseller. Either that or Martel sold his soul to the other guy for fifteen minutes of fame. Trust me, his follow-up will get trashed.