Normally I refrain from writing long reviews
but this wonderful book offers so much to readers that I must indulge It is a broad this wonderful book offers so much to readers that I must indulge It is a broad book about rural South Africa set in the late 1930s and 1940s prior to apartheid It imparts a real sense of this exotic country and the friction between its diverse peoples Dutch Afrikaners native Boers a host of black tribes and the English The protagonist Peekay is an only child sent to boarding school at age 5 when his mother is institutionalized He is picked on mercilessly because he is youngest and English and misses his black nanny His nickname is Pisskop pisshead as he wets his bed Peekay s only friend is a rebellious chicken Things take a change for the better when he is sent by train to his randfather s distant home He is adopted by conductor Hoppie Groenewald who cares for him and teaches one of this book s life lessons first with the head and then with the heart Hoppie is an amateur boxer and uses his prodigious skills to beat a much larger opponent at the end of the first leg of Peekay s train journey Peekay immediately develops a deep passion for boxing and decides he wants to become the welterweight champ of the world Arriving at his randfather s home Peekay is devastated by the disappearance of his nanny and subjected to his mother s religious fervor Once again Peekay is rescued by a mentor Professor Karl von Vollensteen aka Docwhom he meets on a distant mountaintop Doc too adopts *Peekay And Teaches Him About *and teaches him about especially cacti piano Africa and of course life As a German Doc becomes jailed as a possible spy but becomes a popular figure in the local prison with inmates uards and the Commandant Meanwhile Peekay visits Doc regularly and eventually convinces the staff to allow him to train as a boxer The downtrodden criminal Geel Piet teaches Peekay how to box and they develop a symbiotic relationship as Peekay smuggles tobacco into the prison Peekay and the local town librarian also start a postal service for the mostly black inmates Peekay s open minded acceptance of others accords him a mythical status with the African people in the prison and community and he becomes revered as the Tadpole Angel creating a large following as his boxing career advancesEventually Peekay earns a scholarship and it sent to an exclusive prep school where he meets his next ood friend and mentor a wealthy Jew named Morrie Eually brilliant the two develop businesses together which allow them to afford etting Peekay trained at an elite boxing school Peekay continues his unblemished record in the ring eventually agreeing to fight a rising black champion who has just turned professional even though this is not legal and theoretically a mismatch And yet there is Gandhi Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age great drama as this fighter s name is familiar to Peekay he is a descendent of a tribal chief and the legend of the Tadpole Angel is placed at risk Peekay is a highly popular student and athlete joining the elite leadership of the prep school but he continues to work for the people opening a school to teach local blacks to read and write drawing the ire of the local white police Morrie is accepted to Oxford and Peekay does not win the coveted Rhodes Scholarship that would allow them to stay together Instead Peekay decides to take arueling dangerous job in the mines to build his strength and body mass Once again Peekay befriends a loner in this case a huge Russian who barely speaks English Peekay s productivity makes him the envy of all but he stays too long in this job leading to disaster My only complaint is that despite the final physical confrontation in the mine bar with a lifelong foe we don t know if Peekay achieves his life long ambition so now I need to read the 900 page seuel Given author Courtenay s Les Innocents gift for storytelling I do not expect this will be too much of a chore Of all the books I read in 2009 one stands out in the horizon of my memory a mass market paperback with 540 pages of microscopic print which I devoured in a day and a halfThe Power of oneave me the chance to meet a part of myself that I thought I had lost forever It rekindled a long extinguished flame of hope it awakened a lost feeling of wonder it I Was A Stranger gave me proof that one can make a differenceSet in South Africa in the 1930s and 40s The Power of one is the compelling coming of age story of Peekay an innocent English boy who very early in his life realizes that there arereater things at stake than the hatred between the Dutch Afrikaners and the Engl. In 1939 as Hitler casts his enormous cruel shadow across the world the seeds of apartheid take root in South Africa There a boy called Peekay is born His childhood is. Erested in checking it out but I don t want to ruin the absoloodle perfection of this story so I may skip it Took me some time to read but not because it wasn t ood but just because there is so much to this story A supremely well written book If you like historical fiction the type focused on people living in certain historical eras not necessarily specific historical events you will enjoy this story I now feel like I have a
Good Feel For WWIIfeel for WWII South Africa Also if you like interesting characters and ood character development this is a ood story for you too Wow incredible I fell in love with Peekay even before he was five years old starting in South Africa when he shares of being nursed from his lovely black nanny before being sent to boarding school although we
follow him from age 5 to 20 fromhim from age 5 to 20 from late 1930 s to mid 40 sOur oldest daughter attended a boarding High School in Michigan for a short time an academicarts school The family separation was painful I can t begin to imagine sending a 5 year old away to a boarding school even in the best of conditionsAnd the fact that this story is inspired by the authors real lifefor me this is one of the most wrenching parts of the entire bookbeing sent away from his family at age 5 from love he was receiving to hatred he was walking into Peekay is bullied and abused almost immediately upon arrival as a 5 year old at his boarding school He s the youngest child in the school Missing the comfort of his Black nanny Peekay is English and white who would soothe his hurtsmissing his mother who was sent away due to a nervous breakdown Peekay was the first live example of the congenital hate they carried for his kind The Boer War had created reat malevolent feelings against the English who were called the rooineks It was a hate that had entered the Afrikaner bloodstream and pocked the hearts and minds of the next eneration Given that Peekay spoke English he pronounced sentences that killed their randfathers and Gone: The Disappearance of Claudia Lawrence and Her Father's Desperate Search for the Truth grandmothers to the world s first concentration camps Little Peekay had no advance warning that he was wicked before coming to the school One of the other kids called Judge abused Peekey regularly Peekay even made a deal with him to do the Judge s homework and make sure he didn t fail but he still continues to abuse him really tortured him We see how Peekay begins to survive horrific conditions at such a young tender age Peekay says One thingot to them than anything else They could make me cry Even the Judge with all of the fear he could provoke could not make me cry I suspect they even began to admire me a bit Many as them brothers my age at home and they knew how easy it is for a five year old to cry In fact I had turned six but nobody had told me so in my head I was still five Not being able to cry was the hardest part for me as well Crying can t be a 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts good camouflage In truth my willpower had very little to do with my resolve never to cry I had learned a special trick and in the process had somehow lost the knack of turning on the tap Peekay is a diamond in the roughan inspiring character He s smart open minded and doesn t have an ounce of bitterness or hatred in him He develops meaningful friendships with teachers and mentors who teach him to read He meets a healer and a boxer We learn a tremendous amount about boxing We also learn a lot about the history of South Africa through the eyes of a child The themes of discrimination were well defined by the author the Boers vs the English South Africans vs the Germans the Jews vs the Germans white Africans vs the Black Africans Violence israphic so be warned It s a cruel and beautiful world we live in I hardly know where to begin writing this review This book had been on my to read list for a long time I finally decided to take the plunge and listen to the Audible version n My all time favourite book The dazzling writing style of Bryce Courtenay is captured in this his debut novel Its intricate prose and powerful characters bring a story to life that few readers will be able to resist In rural South Africa during the late 1930s Peekay is a young boy who has been sent to boarding school With English roots Peekay struggles in this school where the Boer boys ridicule him for his heritage turning verbal pokes into full on malicious attacks With war building in Europe Peekay is led to believe by classmates that Hitler will soon arrive in South Africa to toss the shackles from the Afrikaner people long subjugated by th. Ks on an epic journey through a land of tribal superstition and modern prejudice where he will learn the power of words the power to transform lives and the power of ,
Ish The Second World War in Europe the rowing racial tensions "and the beginning of Apartheid will influence his world and challenge his spiritual strengthEven though the odds are stacked against small "the beginning of Apartheid will influence his world and challenge his spiritual strengthEven though the odds are stacked against small from the start he never loses faith in the oodness of people and following the advice of several improvised but memorable mentors who will change his life he becomes an improbable icon in boxing which will make historyReading this book felt magical the story was touching in so many different ways that sometimes I had to stop reading overwhelmed by the details and the tenderness I felt for this pure little boy who made a turbulent and full of hatred world shine with his oodwill and with his mysticismPeekay is one of the most inspiring characters I have ever met He has become a part of myself he belongs to me and to all the readers who re learnt to believe along with him Audio version with introduction by the author himself He is such a larrikin with a happy voice Bryce Courtenay s debut apparently toiled over at the kitchen table with his son s irlfriend stating This is the best book I ve read you need to publish it or words to the effect The rest they say is history First with the head then with the hands What an Australian classic one that I should have read by nowPeekay starts out as a tiny tot I have a 6 year old son and therefore horrified who suffers dreadful abuse at this young age at boarding school at the hands of horrible older boys one in particular Emerging a wonderful well rounded and amazing human beingMemories of his beloved wet nurse neurotic mother and beloved music teacher and mentor this is an epic story centring on the discipline and craft of boxing South Africa is a sometimes bleak and beautiful place told from around the time of 1930 1940 Worthwhile reading Amazing narration290318 Addendum I stumbled across notes taken during my audio read so I have some thoughts On Peekay losing one of his most favourite people in the world due to a zealously religious and neurotic mother The lord is a shithead and I allowed myself a Hello, Snow! good cry The only person I knew not to have camouflage was Nanny There are too many sweet and wonderful comments from Peekay I must purchase the hard copy it would be a valuable asset to any bookshelf Peekay srandfather I
Loved Reading These Betweenreading these parts between young and the old There s a A Little Dinner Before the Play good lad Tap tap Strokeoes Grandfather s processPeekay s perception Very high up born again Christian This was so humorous with the full on nature of Peekay s mother so worried about the ranking of all this stuffI cannot read my writing so I hope I am doing Mr Courtenay justice here To emerge as myself To regain the power of one What a nice surprise this book was for me This coming of age story set in 1939 South Africa has a focus on the sport of boxing throughout which I am Mastering the Art of Saying No Without Feeling Guilty: Tips, Techniques and Strategies generally not a fan of but certainly loved every minute of it in this story Peekay endures awful humiliation and abandonment at such a young age yet he struggles along through adversity and heartbreaking lossesNumerous comments by readers mention they did not care for the ending but I for one loved it view spoilerI kept wondering when the judge would reappear hoping he wouldet his comeuppance and was so Yuganta, The End Of An Epoch glad Peekayave it to him Once a Wicked Lady: A Biography of Margaret Lockwood good When early in the book the judge abused Peekay even after he did all his homework and promised otherwise made him eat human sht tortured and killed Granpa Chook Peekay s beloved and clever rooster and only friend the ending made me feel pretty darn satisfied As for becoming the World s Welterweight Champion you knew he would do just that hide spoiler I just finished reading The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay which was recommended to me by JK in our little cross country virtual book club Divided into three parts this is a story of a boy named Peekay coming of age in 1930 1950 s South Africa So we veot major historical things happening Boer War aftermath Hitler Germany and WWII the buddings of Apartheid And then you have this really small boy Forbidden Reading going through hell at age 5 in a boarding school and learning at this infant stage in life how to survive His powerrows with each new and colorful mentor that he and we meets along the way First with the head and then with the heart is his mantra throughout the story There is little I love than a ood piece of fiction with brilliant and richly described narrative I just found that a movie was made about the book in 1992 I m definitely int. Marked by humiliation and abandonment yet he vows to survive and conceives heroic dreams which are nothing compared to what life actually has in store for him He embar.