|Submitted by Anonymous |
(May 11, 2005)
Having first read "The Power of One" in 1994 (two years after its release), and a number of times since, TPo1 is difficult to label without using a cliche: as it stands, TPo1 is tremendous.
Peekay's constant growth (as an individual, as a non-conformist - and equally as a conformist - is a wonderful thing to watch. Starting as a 5 year old in a South African boarding school, the young "rooinek" has to face the racist-driven bullying of turn-of-the-century Boers. His friendships with Grandpa Chook, Hoppie Groenewald, Doc and Morrie turn Peekay's generally unhappy life upside down.
A little long at times, "The Power of One" ends poorly, leaving the reader frothing at the mouth for more - for closure. Peekay's final battle with The Judge - and the death-in-vain of Rasputin - at the copper mines leads one to wonder what happens to Peekay afterwards.
As I recall, Courtney wrote a sequel, but for the life of me, I only recall that it was far worse than "The Power of One."
It bears mentioning that "The Power of One" is reminicent of Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Shadow." In both, a small, young, highly intelligent boy has to fight against oppression, bias and bigotry...and ultimately his struggle pays off. I shan't ruin either book for the readers of this review, but suffice to say that a canny reader will see more than a passing resemblance between the two.
It helps to understand the book ("The Power of One") if one is familiar with South African history and boxing: youth should ideally read the story of Lord Baden Powell and the Boy Scouts; adults should read about Muhammed Ali and black segregation.
This is not a story geared toward easy reading, nor, by proxy, children. Many adults will have difficulty with the writing style, but fortunately, Courtney writes fluidly. He does not introduce too many characters too quickly (as many authors do), and the scope of his plot and setting are restricted without being confining. The liniar progression of the story and uncluttered plot is a joy to experience. Lessons learned, fear, joy and sorrow experinced and pure relief at the success of the protagonist makes "The Power of One" a solid, enjoyable and 100% worthwhile read.