Essays On The Power Of One Book

The Power of One

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hen I started reading The Power of One, I hadforgotten the story from the excellent movie version. I began to recallthe plot as I got into the first chapter that describes the young boy,Peekay, who lives at a boys' boarding school in South Africa. Theprejudice and hatred of the other boys make his life difficult from thebeginning. This mistreatment takes a toll in his early years, andcontinues to swirl around him the rest of his life.

Peekayrealizes that his main ambition in life is boxing, and begins training.During adolescence and college, he fights with the power inside him andgains the strength of Africa in his soul. Using the simple words afriend gave him, "first with the head and then with theheart," he gains courage and strength. The desire and skill fromboxing follow him through his life.

Peekay is guided by manypeople on his journey, including an African prison inmate, Geel Piet,who shows him the essentials of boxing and life. Piet teaches Peekay howto get out of trouble in and out of the ring. Racism and hatred arestrong at the prison, though, and Piet is brutally killed by an officer.His spirit continues to live in Peekay, who never forgets the lessons hetaught. These scenarios create strong emotional aspects of the book,making it interesting and challenging.

Courtenay vividlydescribes the power one can have inside and the difference one personcan make. Using Peekay as an example of determination, Courtenay depictsone man's drive for someting he believes in. Peekay proves we can takeon the harshest obstacles and prevail.


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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 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 losses.

Numerous comments by readers mention they did not care for the ending, but I, for one, loved it! (view spoiler)[I kept wondering when the 'judge' would reappear hoping he would get his comeuppance and was so glad Peekay gave it to him good. When early in the book the 'judge' abused Peekay, even after he did all his homework and promised otherwise, made him eat human sh*t, 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)]

A touching and up-lifting story I plan to read again. Absoloodle! (you'll have to read the novel to appreciate that one) Highly recommend!

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