I started reading this book with the utmost skepticism, thanks to O'Brien. However, I am grateful for learning how to be a tentative reader, because this book has a more significant meaning than just the words written on the page. I also love how we discussed religion in class, because I recently found religion myself and I find it to be very rewarding. I believe that Pi's understanding of the interconnection of all living things, human and animal, Hindu and Christian, is essential to his survival on this boat.
If the shipwreck happened first, and we were introduced to Pi's life afterward, the book would not be as rewarding because in Part One, Pi's character prepares us as readers to view his later predicament with a more understanding, accepting eye. He is, in a sense, training us to think like him in order to process his story in a more thorough manner.
Don't get me wrong, I would still read this book even if we weren't prompted to do so in class. However, I do not believe that I would see the better story that is hidden between the lines; about how religion is present in every aspect of life if one decides to search for it, and how zoo animals and humans are more instinctually alike than different (and I'm sure I'll find more not-so-obvious messages as I continue to read). Although this book is considered to be fiction, it states very relevant, everyday-life messages to readers. At this point, I do not care about Pi or Martel's credibility; I am accepting this book as fiction and simply goin' with the flow.