Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Power Of One by Bryce Courtenay

"Racism does not diminish with brains. It's a disease, a sickness. It may incubate in ignorance, but it doesn't necessarily disappear with the gaining of wisdom" page 456

In 1939, in South Africa, when you are white, speak the wrong language, English, and were suckled by a nanny of the wrong color, black, you learn a lot about racism the hard way. This is how life began for a young boy who names himself Peekay.

Peekay survives abandonment and endures humiliation because he has a goal; he wants to become welterweight champion of the world.

He learns at a very young age that one person can make a difference. As we travel through Peekay's life we meet the people who, one at time, help to shape him and enable him to be a strong enough person to change things for those around him. Peekay, maybe because of his upbringing or his youth is unbiased to those who take an interest in him, he is helped by a Boer, a German professor, a librarian, a Jewish teacher, and a great Zulu medicine man among others.

The writing is done so well that no matter if the setting is a boarding school, an African mountain side, a local prison, a mine, or a boxing ring you are able to see and smell the surroundings you are reading about. Likewise, the characters are so well defined that you know right away which ones you like and which ones you dislike. Which ones you cry for and which ones you will be rooting for.

The outcome may not always be what you want but the story weaves a tale that you will not forget. It will leave you hungering for more and asking questions about Africa, World War II, and yourself that you had not thought of before. The theme of one person being able to make a difference comes through loud and clear and makes you want to be a better person.


Anonymous said...

der kind:

sound insainly gut und interasant.

The Lovely Wife said...

to the kid: It is a great book, you should so read it when you get home.