Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Power of One

The Power of OneThe Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

AR Reading Level: 6.9
On the library stacks: Adult fiction
Recommended for: Adults
Note: There is a young readers' condensed version on the YA stacks listed for grades 9+.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this on my shelf forever. But at over 500 pages, I needed a good excuse to pick it up. Thankfully, this was my in-person book club choice this month and we are going to watch the movie together tonight! This is a tough read, but it was really good.

The book spans the childhood years of Peekay, a white South African from English descent. When the book opens in 1939, little 6-year old Peekay is sent away to boarding school where he deals with unspeakable horrors because he is not a Boer. Peekay has no father and his mother is pretty much out to lunch. But Peekay finds others in his life who teach him, inspire him, and help him on his way including a boxer, a prison warden, a professor, a librarian, teachers, friends, and even a Russian man working in a Rhodesian copper mine.

The character development, set against the backdrop of WWII and the roots of apartheid, is outstanding. We journey with Peekay as he strives to become the welterweight champion of the world while standing against racism, uniting cultures, and developing his talents as a thinker.

This book is very violent and full of profanity. To be honest, I don't think I could have read it and appreciated it much earlier in my life than where I'm at now. But it is inspiring and beautifully written. There is a reason you see this one on so many Top 100-type lists, and I agree that the accolades are well-deserved.

Also reviewed by: Book Thoughts ~ Bending Bookshelf ~ Your link here?

Book 78 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge, Book 46 of 50 for the New Author Challenge, Book 34 of 50 for the RYOB Challenge, Book 6 of 8 for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge (South Africa)

Source: Purchased (brand new for 10 cents at my library book sale!)


bermudaonion said...

It's funny how people will create a family when they don't have one of their own. I'm glad to see this book deserves the attention it gets.

Veens said...

Wow!I would need a good reason to pick this up too! I am glad this is good, I will definitely give it a try.

Kathleen said...

Sounds like a powerful, thought-provoking read that I need to add to my list.

Linda said...

The movie is one of my all time favorites. The book is on my Fill In The Gaps list. I hope to get to it soon.