Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Power of One (The Young Reader's Condensed Version) by Bryce Courtenay

I made a public declaration that I would not be teaching Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger again. I was not necessary looking for a replacement, but I think that I found one: The Power of One!

The Power of One and Catcher in the Rye are both classified as Bildungsroman, which is a coming of age story. However, with The Power of One, not only can a person discuss coming of age, but a person can also go into some great history lessons about race in South Africa, WWII, The Boer War etc.

At five years old, Peekay, an English-speaking South African boy, is forced to take a journey that caused him to have to grow up and grow up quickly. His mom had a nervous break down, and he had to attend a boarding school, and this started him on his journey...

On his journey, much like Santiago from the Alchemist, Peekay has many guides: His first guide is a famous black chief, Inkosi-Inkosikazi, who taught him how to escape into his mind when things were going wrong because "The person on the outside was only a shell, a presence to be provoked." His second guide was Hoppie Groenewald, boxing champion of the railways. Hoppie taught Peekay that "Small can beat big if you have a plan." His third guide was an old German music professor, Karl von Vollensteen, and he taught Peekay how to be critical and thorough. His fourth guide was a Cape colored man, Geel Piet, and he literally taught Peekay how to fight.

The book ends with Peekay being admitted to a prestigious Prince of Wales school in Johannesburg, and I am going to assume that he uses all of the things that he has been taught as he continues on his journey.

Now, I read the young reader's condensed version, and after a little research, I found out that in the adult version, Peekay goes off to school and becomes a boxing great....

The young reader's condensed version was enough for me; I got a good understanding of why this is a coming of age story, and I also think that this version would be enough for my 10th graders as well.

My people, seems like I have been reading a lot of books about taking a journey.....hmmmm, I wonder if this means anything?

Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed the first day of 2015.

Happy New Year, My People!

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