South Africa in the 1940s, a place torn by hate, racism and prejudice. Not the best place for an education you would think. But for young Peekay, he will be taught a great many lessons he will never forget. Placed in a school full of Boers, haters of the invading Rooineks of which Peekay is part, the first few years of childhood for Peekay is a life of abuse and segregation in which the only safety and respite comes from the warm chest of the greatly despised Kaffirs and ingenuity of a chicken. His life is thrown a line though, when he is called to live with his mother in Barberton and on the way meets a boxing champion, Hoppie Groenewald. This brief meeting provides him with the inspiration and guidance that a young misguided youth needs, “First with your head and then with your heart”. Making friends with most unlikely people: Kaffirs, Germans, Prisoners, Boers and Jews, Peekay finds the strength he needs in his ambition to become the Welterweight champion of the world and ultimately to discover the power of one. Bryce Courtenay’s incredible novel has been around now for 20 years and yet it still is able to capture the minds of many through its powerful plot. This book is an emotional whirlwind as Courtenay guides us through a range of emotions seemingly impossible to be contained within 2 covers. His literary genius has brought to life what could have been a rather simplistic story about the life of a boy in South Africa by connecting with the reader in a most comprehensive manner. It is a stunning novel which would be thoroughly recommendable to anyone above the age of 15. This encapsulating novel can be read at many different levels but the fight for justice throughout the book is something that should appeal to all.
By Douglas, 15