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The Power of One
Cover of The Power of One
The Power of One
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In 1939, hatred took root in South Africa, where the seeds of apartheid were newly sown. There a boy called Peekay was born. He spoke the wrong language--English. He was nursed by a woman of the wrong color--black. His childhood was marked by humiliation and abandonment. Yet he vowed to survive--he would become welterweight champion of the world, he would dream heroic dreams.
But his dreams were nothing compared to what awaited him. For he embarked on an epic journey, where he would learn the power of words, the power to transform lives, and the mystical power that would sustain him even when it appeared that villainy would rule the world: The Power of One.

From the Hardcover edition.

In 1939, hatred took root in South Africa, where the seeds of apartheid were newly sown. There a boy called Peekay was born. He spoke the wrong language--English. He was nursed by a woman of the wrong color--black. His childhood was marked by humiliation and abandonment. Yet he vowed to survive--he would become welterweight champion of the world, he would dream heroic dreams.
But his dreams were nothing compared to what awaited him. For he embarked on an epic journey, where he would learn the power of words, the power to transform lives, and the mystical power that would sustain him even when it appeared that villainy would rule the world: The Power of One.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    6.9
  • Lexile:
    940
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 6

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    1939: Northern Transvaal, South Africa

    This is what happened.
    My Zulu nanny was a person made for laughter, warmth and softness and before my life started properly she would clasp me to her breasts and stroke my golden curls with a hand so large it seemed to contain my whole head. My hurts were soothed with a song about a brave young warrior hunting a lion and a women's song about doing the washing down on the rock beside the river where, at sunset, the baboons would come out of the hills to drink.
    My life proper started at the age of five when my mother had her nervous breakdown. I was torn from my black nanny with her big white smile and taken from my grandfather's farm and sent to boarding school.
    Then began a time of yellow wedges of pumpkin burned black and bitter at the edges; mashed potato with glassy lumps; meat aproned with gristle in gray gravy; diced carrots; warm, wet, flatulent cabbage; beds that wet themselves in the morning; and an entirely new sensation called loneliness.
    I was the youngest child in the school by two years and spoke only English while the other children spoke Afrikaans, the language of the Boers, which was the name for the Dutch settlers in South Africa. They called the English settlers Rooinecks, which means "Redneck,'' because in the Boer War, which had happened forty years before between the English and the Dutch settlers, the pale-skinned English troopers got very sunburned and their necks turned bright red.
    The English won this war, but it was a terrible struggle and it created a hatred for them by the Boers, which was carried over into the generations that followed. So, here I was, someone who only spoke the language of the people they hated most of all in the world. I was the first Rooineck the Afrikaner kids had ever seen and, I'm telling you, I was in a lot of trouble.
    On the first night of boarding school, I was taken by two eleven-year-olds to the seniors' dormitory, to stand trial. I stood there shaking like billy-o and gibbering, unable to understand the language of the twelve-year-old judge, or the reason for the hilarity when the sentence was pronounced. But I guessed the worst. I had been caught deep behind enemy lines and even a five-year-old knows this means the death sentence.
    I wasn't quite sure what death was. I knew it was something that happened on the farm in the slaughterhouse to pigs and goats and an occasional heifer and I'd seen it happen often enough to chickens. The squeal from the pigs was so awful that I knew it wasn't much of an experience, even for pigs.
    And I knew something else for sure; death wasn't as good as life. Now death was about to happen to me before I could really get the hang of life. Trying hard to hold back my tears, I was dragged off to the shower room. I had never been in a shower room before; it resembled the slaughterhouse on my grandfather's farm and I guessed this was where my death would take place. I was told to remove my pajamas and to kneel inside the recess facing the wall. I looked down into the hole in the floor where all the blood would drain away. I closed my eyes and said a silent, sobbing prayer. My prayer wasn't to God but to my nanny. I felt a sudden splash on my neck and then warm blood trickled over my trembling body. Funny, I didn't feel dead. But who knows what dead feels like?
    When the Judge and his council of war had all pissed on me, they left. After a while it got very quiet, just a drip, drip from someplace overhead. I didn't know how to turn the shower on and so had no way of washing myself. At the farm I had always been bathed by my nanny in a tin tub in front of the kitchen stove. She'd soap me all over and Dee and Dum, the...

About the Author-
  • Bryce Courtenay was born in South Africa, is an Australian, and has
    lived in Sydney for the major part of his life. Visit him on the web at www.brycecourtenay.com.

Reviews-
  • DOGO Books joejoebro - Long, boring, hard to get through. I feel like this movie should be just an Adult book as I think Adults would understand it more. I know Brice Courtney is a great author, just not for teenagers. This book had a great plot but dragged on heaps and just made the enjoyment feel like a real downer. I don't like this book and the characters are so confusing it's hard to know what's going on and why. I suggest that you don't read this book, but that does not mean you don't have to. If you want a real challenge, and you think you have the smarts to read it, you should do fine. But hey, at least the movie is good.
  • The New York Times

    "The Power of One has everything: suspense, the exotic, violence; mysticism, psychology and magic; schoolboy adventures, drama in the boxing ring."

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Random House Children's Books
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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