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What happens when you spend 10 years obsessively pursuing a dream, and then, in the blink of an eye, you learn that you have failed, that the dream will not come true?
In 2003, Rajiv Surendra was filming Mean Girls, playing the beloved rapping mathlete Kevin Gnapoor, when a cameraman insisted he read Yann Martel's Life of Pi.
Mesmerized by all the similarities between Pi and himself - both are five-foot-five with coffee-colored complexions, both share a South Indian culture, both lived by a zoo - when Rajiv learns that Life of Pi will be made into a major motion picture he is convinced that playing the title role is his destiny.
In a great leap of faith Rajiv embarks on a quest to embody the 16-year-old Tamil schoolboy. He quits university and buys a one-way ticket from Toronto to South India. He visits the sacred stone temples of Pondicherry, he travels to the frigid waters off the coast of rural Maine, and explores the cobbled streets of Munich. He befriends Yann Martel, a priest, a castaway, an eccentric old woman, and a pack of Tamil schoolboys. He learns how to swim, to spin wool, to keep bees, and to look a tiger in the eye. All the while he is really learning how to dream big, to fail, to survive, to love, and to become who he truly is.
Rajiv Surendra captures the uncertainty, heartache, and joy of finding ones place in the world with sly humor and refreshing honesty. The Elephants in My Backyard is not a journey of goals and victories, but a story of process and determination. It is a spellbinding and profound book for anyone who has ever failed at something and had to find a new path through life.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Hjordis Elma on 05-29-18
Wonderful and relatable story
I bought the book in hardcover shortly after it was published. But I felt that I needed to hear Rajiv tell his story himself.
I was not disappointed having done so. Rajiv makes the story become alive and so much more relatable than when it is just words on paper.