April 14, 2011


I’m probably the last one on the planet to read “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay.  I discovered this absolutely marvelous book, with remarkably complex characters, some time ago but frankly did not have the time to invest in reading until a few days ago.  The characters literally come to life as you go from chapter to chapter.  Their personalities evolve as you turn the pages.  Getting to know them is like looking through a dirty glass window but as you progressively clean the glass you get a much better indication as to what they look like.  As the story unfolds, we are introduced to Klipklop, Dee, Dum, Inksoi-Inkosikazi, Grandpa Chook, Peekay, Hoppie Groenweld, Big Hattie, Geel Piet and a host of additional colorful characters that provide great delight for the reader.  Mr. Courtenay weaves these individuals into the life of the young man Peekay, the major character of the book.   Another wonderful facet of the book is the introduction of words, apparently found only in South Africa during that generation. Rooineks, mootie, pisskop, sjambok, kaffir, tackies—all bring great variety to the reading experience. 

The theme of the book is, obviously, the power of one:  one idea, one heart, one mind, one plan and one determination.  This charts the road to success for Peekay.  We find this little boy going from a bullied five-year old to the welter-weight champion of South Africa and what a remarkable journey he does take to reach that point.   Peekay is challenged by the words of fly-weight boxer Hoppie Groenweld:  “First with the head, then with the heart. That’s how a man stays ahead right from the start.”  One must admit, a powerful and valuable concept that can and should be applied to affect success for any endeavor.  These words, adequately applied to one idea, can produce results far beyond all expectations.  I think one idea, with one plan for implementation, can carry an individual towards resounding success.

I strongly recommend you read this book—then give it to a member of Congress.

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