Power of One, The by Bryce Courtney

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Book Information  
AuthorBryce Courtney
TitlePower of One, The
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Pete Vene 
(Mar 23, 2009)

It's a great book. Peekay is a genius and because of his early exposure to hatred and bigotry, he learns to camouflage himself to the abuse of his peers, most especially the Judge. He learns to adjust to the torture by being tough on the outside whic frustrates his enemies. He finds an outlet through Granpa Chook and is badly hurt by the demise of his only friend at that time. I noticed that Peekay would always find company of good people after he gets away from the first boarding school. He learns a hard lesson early in life. He has a very kind heart as depicted on how he cares about his nanny more than his real mom. When he meets Hoppie, that triggers the change in his life which he carries throughout the story. He is one lucky guy to have so many good friends like Doc, Morrie, Giel Peet, Rasputin and so many more. He has a personality and traits that make him very likable. The way that Bryce portrayed Peekays character was very well done. Peekay has very good manners, very smart and respectful. He is a quick learner and has very good memory. It was good that Peekay was able to get his revenge with the Judge at the end but I wished Bryce had a good ending showing Peekay being able to achieve his dream of becoming the welterweight champion of the world. Bryce was able to put the reader grasping for more.

Submitted by Winnie McKee 
(Dec 02, 2005)

I just finished this book as part of a book club that I belong to. I thought that the book was well written and it gave a very good description of the situation in South Africa and area during the time period in question. I especially liked Doc and his philosophy. I did not agree, however, that the power of one can be achieved by successfully seeking bloody revenge. It takes a bigger person to stand up peacefully to opression , much like Ghandi did. To me that is the "power of one".

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.

Highly recommended.

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