Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Review: The Power of One

Although I didn’t read as much as I thought I would on our honeymoon, I did finish a couple books, the first one being Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One. This is another one that has sat on my bookshelf for years gathering dust until I finally lined up my unread books in order of publication date to force myself to read them (nerd alert).

In this novel, a little English boy named Peekay tells the story of his survival and coming of age in South Africa during and just after World War II. Peekay spends most of his childhood in an Afrikaans school where he is bullied and tormented. I absolutely fell in love with little Peekay at this stage of the book and couldn’t wait to read on to see what would happen to him. There was a point at this part of the story that nearly brought me to tears (rare for me when reading)… I won’t spoil it for you though.

Lucky for Peekay, he later moves to the town of Barberton to live with his mother and grandmother. On the way he meets Hoppie Groenewald, a boxer who inspires Peekay to someday become the welterweight champion of the world. In Barberton Peekay befriends a German professor, Karl von Vollesteen or “Doc,” who is later imprisoned for being an unregistered foreigner. Peekay visits Doc at the prison and begins a strange camaraderie with the prison guards and inmates. He joins the boxing team and is well on his way to fulfilling his dream. Later, at boarding school, with the help of his best friend Moorie Levy, Peekay becomes an untouchable legend who is loved by everyone.

Peekay has so many adventures throughout his journey with so many vivid characters. I originally had no interest in the subject matter of this book, but Courtenay really brings to life each and every person in this amazing South African setting. I don’t think anyone would be able to help falling in love with the “Tadpole Angel” and his life's motto: “First with the head and then with the heart.”

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