James Shoop's Reviews > The Power of One

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
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Jan 18, 10

Read in January, 2010

I really thought as I started this book that I would like it. I actually heard about it from a band I like, Sonata Arctica, who wrote of song of the same name that was based on the book.
The first half of the book was very good. The characters were very vividly drawn, and you really get to like Peekay, the protagonist. It's a harsh story, but at the same time heart-warming.

My criticisms are thus:

The ending was horrible. It needed another couple of chapters at least to wrap it up. I realise there is a sequel, and I guess I should read it, but this books ends without any kind of resolution. Does Peekay go to Oxford? Does he become welterweight champion of the world? What happens to all the other characters? What's up with the whole "Tadpole Angel" thing?
Another thing I didn't like was that throughout the story, the concept of "The Power of One" is touted time and time again, but never fully explained. The best we are given is that the Power of One refers to one man's ability to change himself and shape his own life, if he follows the slightly cheesy rule of "first with the head, then with the heart". However, everything Peekay accomplishes is due to the undying support of his multitude of friends. In fact, pretty much everyone he knows is committed heart and soul to doing nothing other than sacrificing the whole of his or her time and energy to the furtherance of his boxing career, education, and financial situation. Several people die directly for his benefit. I'm not sure if the whole "Power of One" thing is some kind of ironic humor or not.

All the same, I liked a lot about it, it was well written, and I suppose I would recommend it, just a bit grudgingly.
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