It’s sunny again today but a cold one. We could have it worse, I know. I decided to wear my skinny pants today with a sweater and my boots. Perfect outfit for a cold, crisp Thursday in November. By the way these skinny pants from the Gap are so comfortable, it’s almost like you are wearing leggings.
I’m really excited to be going to Sephora’s VIB Holiday Shopping Event tonight. I’ve been thinking about doing a post about holiday looks and trends and this will be perfect. Can’t wait to share them with you. Hoping to find the perfect shade of red lipstick for myself :).
I recently finished reading the book “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay. I’ve heard amazing things about this book and it was recommended to me by one of my friends.
The story takes place in South Africa right before World War II and continues into the 1950’s. This is a tale about a boy named Peekay and his quest to becoming welter-weight champion of the world. The story starts out with Peekay being ripped away from everything he knows, and sent to boarding school because his mother has a nervous breakdown. At the boarding school, Peekay quickly learns that he is different from the other kids. He is a white, circumcised boy who only speaks English. The English are considered the enemy because of a war between them and the African people. Peekay is ridiculed, humiliated and bullied for his differences by a boy he aptly names “The Judge”. “The Judge” tortures Peekay by mentally, physically and emotionally abusing him. Like many children that are bullied Peekay doesn’t have any friends, until he befriends a chicken called “Grandpa Chook”. “Grandpa Chook” soon becomes Peekay’s salvation and hope from his torment.
At the end of the term, Peeky is headed back home, via train, when he meets Hoppie Groenewald. Hoppie instills in Peekay the idea of the power of one: one mind, one heart. Think first with your head, then with your heart. If you can manage to do that, you can do anything you put your mind to. One of my favorite quotes is when Peekay describes the power of one as “one idea, one heart, one mind, one plan, one determination.” (p. 106) From that moment on, Peekay has one thing on his mind: to do whatever it takes for him to become the welter-weight champion of the world.
Through his journey to becoming a boxing champion, Peekay befriends Doc and Miss Bornstein. They become his surrogate parents. They educate him not only about history, language and arithmetic but they teach him the most important lesson of all: to follow your heart. Peekay meets many people along the way who help him in his journey to becoming a boxing champion. The book ends with a dramatic confrontation between Peekay and “The Judge”.
I love how Bryce Courtenay immerses you into Peekay’s world; how eloquently he describes Africa and Peekay’s thoughts. At times you feel like you are there with Peekay, experiencing what he is.
I enjoyed the detailed description of events that happened to Peekay, but found that Bryce Courtenay’s narration would jump large gaps in time. It took 526 pages to get to the final confrontation Peekay has with “The Judge” and then finishes in 4 pages. It felt rushed, like it wasn’t complete. I also found the synopsis on the back of the book to be inaccurate. It wasn’t Peekay’s meeting with Hymie and Gideon that helped him pursue his dreams, it was Hoppie, Doc, Miss Bornstein, Captain Smit and Geel Piet who helped Peekay. They fostered and nurtured Peekay’s quest for welter-weight champion of the world. “The Power of One” is a well written book, with detailed character development. At times I really felt like the characters were real. Bryce Courtenay does a great job of enveloping you into the story.
This book is uplifting because we witness Peekay overcome obstacles and never let the bullying he endured define him. Instead he let it fuel him, kept him from becoming a victim again, which is one of the main themes of this book. Peekay is a good example to kids out there who are being bullied and teased. You shouldn’t let it define you. It should give you strength to know that you can overcome anything. There is a little Peekay inside each and everyone of us. He represents the struggles we all have to go through to achieve our goals. It’s not easy and at times we are left feeling lonely and scared, but the one thing that Peekay never does is lose hope. He always maintains hope that he will become the welter-weight champion of the world. So the next time you feel like you can’t do something or are faced with an obstacle think about Peekay and how he always found a way to get what he needed.
Another prevalent theme in “The Power of One” is racism. It is discussed through out the book and becomes quite evident when Peekay meets Morrie, a Jewish boy. Morrie recounts to Peekay the discrimination and prejudices against the Jewish people. He explains the horrors of Hilter and how Jewish people were perceived and mistreated. Peekay is no stranger to racism himself. He witnessed racism through out his life. He saw it in how Geet Piel was treated, how the rest of the prisoners were treated, how the blacks were treated during his fights and when they tried to get educated. Doc explains it beautifully in a letter to Peekay. He says: “I do not think of myself as a German. What is a German? To say a man is a German, what is that? Does it tell you if he is a good man? Or a bad man? No, my friend, it tells you nothing about a man to say he is German. A man must think what he is inside. What he is on the outside, how can this matter?” (p. 188). Doc is right, it’s what the person does and who they are in the inside that matters. Borman’s character is a perfect example of Doc’s point. Borman may not have been black but he was a mean son-of-a-bitch. He beat up Geel Piet because he was black and left him to die. It wasn’t his skin color that made him evil, it was his spirit, his soul that did that. Sadly racism still exists, but my hope is that more people will look at who people are on the inside, rather than judge them on their skin color.
I would recommend this book to anyone. It is a phenomenal read that will leave you feeling inspired and uplifted.
May this blog inspire you to purchase “The Power of One” and to use Peekay as an example of someone who never gave up hope, never let being bullied define him.
Happy Thursday Everyone!!!!