power of one by Bryce Courtney

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Book Information  
AuthorBryce Courtney
Titlepower of one
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Tayla Poulton 
(Sep 04, 2009)

The Power of One is a moving book written by award winning author Bryce Courtenay. It is about a young boy born in South Africa. He is divided from other people due to racism. He is named Peekay after his father who died before he was born. The book shows Peekay growing up. We watch him as he becomes a man. At the extremely young age of six Peekay learns that ‘small can beat big‘. He sets his heart on becoming the welter-weight champion of the world. Peekay begins this journey by taking boxing lessons. He also collects cacti with the professor and learns to play the piano. As a wise man once told him, Peekay starts to think with his head and then his heart.

When Peekay’s mother becomes sick and is to unwell to look after Peekay he is sent to live with his Uncle. There he meets the professor. The professor becomes his teacher and mentor and shows Peekay the best side of South Africa. He shows him how nature is of the upmost importance and educate in ways that nothing else can. Their favourite activity to do together is collect cacti. Peekay learns new skills from the professor such as the piano. The professor is a kind and well natured man, he is tall and thin. After they become very close the professor gets arrested for being in the country illegally and Peekay is sent to boarding school.

There he is the only ‘redneck’ (English person) and can only speak English while everyone else speaks Afrikaner. The Judge who is the oldest and strongest boy there thinks that Peekay should be punished for simply being of English heritage. Judge takes him to the shower where Peekay, who had never seen a shower, thought that was the place where the blood drains after they kill you. Instead Judge and two of his friends urinated on him. From that day forward he became known as Pisskop and Judge set out to inflict pain on Peekay from that day until the day they parted.

One of the main themes of the book is how South Africa is so unfairly divided by racism and also the bond of friendship that Peekay shares with the professor and many other people. It shows the bigger picture of people bonding together for one very common goal, to stop apartheid. I think that the book shows how strong we are when we bond together to defeat something that we do not believe in or something that is unfair.

I think that more people should read this heart warming book as it is something that is easy to get into and can make you cry and laugh. It is a very emotional book that deals with the troubles of an English boy growing up in the African world were the Afrikaners are treated like dirt by the white and take their revenge in any way possible. I really enjoyed reading the book because of the way it was written.

As a wise man once said “small can beat big” and “how the determined mind will always win“. My favourite quote from the professor is “any question that you have, you will find the answer in nature”. My favourite quote in the book is “first with your head then with your heart”. The book “The Power of One” makes you think deeply about racism and how to defeat it and stand together and become one.

Submitted by jana 
(Nov 26, 2005)

I found this book to be an inspiration. It outlined the cruelty that the black people had to endure. I love how the unthinkable happened when a white man was destined to lead the the blacks and bring all races together. I now relise one person can make a difference in the world and if we all tried to help our fellow man then what a beautiful world it would be. I have reccommended this book to plenty of my friends and family and they all agree with me, your book is a master piece and it speaks to your soul. Once you read the power of one your way of thinking is changed forever.

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