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The Power of One

This novel by Bryce Courtenay was written in 1989, just before apartheid ended in South Africa. This novel tells the story of a young boy and the power he has to inspire others. He is sent away to boarding school in the beginning of the book, where a group of boys name him "pisskop" because he wets his bed. For this reason he is sent home, and on the train he meets a wrestling champion, Hoppie, who teaches him how to box and tells him "First with the head and then with the heart, that's how a man stays ahead from the start."  Pisskop then becomes Peekay. He repeats the mantra in his head throughout the rest of his life, and Hoppie remains an influental figure, although Peekay never sees Hoppie again. As Peekay says, "He had given me the power of one---one idea, one heart, one mind, one determination."  It is truly astonishing that one idea could truly transform a little boy - but it does. This book is so inspiring and one of my favorites of all time. It is a story of perseverance against all odds.   There is a sequel, Tandia, which is the continued story of Peekay, but I have not had the chance to read it yet. The book was also made into a movie, called The Power of One, in 1993, starring Stephen Dorff, Armin Mueller-Stahl and Morgan Freeman. The movie was based majorly on the book, but as with all book-to-movie interpretations, there were a few changes.
Overall, I highly recommend this novel to everyone. If you do choose to read it, I hope you are inspired by Peekay and enjoy his story. Rating: ★★★★★

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao