Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Julie's Review: The Power of One

Summary: 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 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 embarks 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 one. ~amazon.com

Julie's Review: You know a great book is when it has so many passages that you want to quote. Frankly, The Power of Onecould be one big quote. I believe that this is the kind of book where each reader will take their own meaning away from it. For me, the book is about courage, pride, doing right when doing wrong is easier, believing in yourself and doing good even if it means possibly harming yourself.

One thing is for sure this isn't an easy book to read because of the subject matter but it is an important one. It is the kind of novel where you want to read every word and savor it. At 500+ pages, this isn't a read in a weekend type of novel.

I won't lie, there are some parts that dragged but there was never a point where I wanted to put it down.
I wanted to know how Peekay turned out. I wanted to know that after building up his camouflage he finally was able to let it fall aside. There is a wonderful cast of characters that assist Peekay on his journey. The two for me that were the most important were Geel Piet and Doc. He wouldn't be the young man he turned into if not for them.

The book has an underlying theme of the David vs. Goliath. Sometimes this is evident but it's really the undercurrent throughout the book. While the book shows you the injustice that is evident throughout South Africa towards the black Afrikaners, it also shows you the hope and the strength of this group.

Peekay is one interesting and complex narrator. You root for him and you hurt for him. You want him to become what he wants to become, not feel the need to live up to everyone elses' expectations for him. You want him to break free of the shackles that bind him.

This is just one quote of many:

"Racism does not diminish with brains. It's a disease, a sickness. It may incubate in ignorance, but it doesn't necessarily disappear with the gaining of wisdom!" -page 456
This is a book that needs to be experienced because it is so nuanced. I will now seek out the movie that stars both Stephen Dorff and Morgan Freeman.

I have to say thanks to a former co-worker, Kristin, who informed me the movie was based off of a book and I have to thank my father for having me watch this movie during my teen years.

Final Take: 5/5

Note: Per his Facebook page Mr. Courtenay wrote that his newest book Jack of Diamonds will be his last. He has been diagnosed with terminal gastric cancer. It is always sad to hear news like this. I am thrilled that his book is one we are ending with for this challenge. For more information on Mr. Courtenay and his books, please check out his website or his facebook page. We will him all the best!



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