Round Rock New Neighbors is a social organization of women welcoming women in the Round Rock area since 1978. Both "new" and "old" neighbors are welcome. For more information: rrnewneighbors.org [Barnes & Noble requires that RRNN's book club be open to the public, so you do not need to be an RRNN member to attend book club, and both men and women are welcome and do attend. ]
The Friends of the Georgetown Public Library’s Hill Country Authors Series events will be listed here.
Round Rock Public Library Book Group meets monthly at 7:00-8:30 PM. Check the library website for more information, or ask Carla.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
The Power of One Packs a Wallop!
No surprise that "Who liked the book?" brought a unanimous response from those who finished The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay. Almost everyone at the meeting had read the book! Those who hadn't may have been convinced to read it now and are in for a treat.
Thanks to Billie for nominating this book! It is one of my favorite books ever, a pleasure to read.
I (Claudia) led the discussion, mostly using a list of questions from the Random House Reader's Circle web page. First I read some notes about the author. I found these particularly interesting because they indicated that the book was semi-autobiographical. Courtenay lived in a small country town called Barberton in South Africa and was sent to boarding school at age 5. There was a "Doc" in his life who was a German music teacher who liked to drink and taught Courtenay wonders of nature. Courtenay was banned from South Africa because he was caught educating Africans on weekends in his private school. He moved to Australia and became the most famous Australian writer.
My first question to the group was one of my own: was Peekay too perfect? The answer from Linda was that in spite of Peekay's almost unrealistic achievements, the author was able to keep the reader seeing Peekay as an underdog throughout the book. The reader liked Peekay because he seemed to be motivated to do things by the right reasons. The boxing theme carried through because it was an opportunity for "small" to defeat "big." Peekay's treatment of the African Blacks was based on his early experiences loving and respecting Black individuals. Author Courtenay's ability to sustain the mood carried through the book and kept it refreshing and exciting for the reader.
The published questions were solid questions, asking which characters influenced Peekay the most (we said Doc and Geel Peet), and why Grandpa Chook was so important to Peekay (Pam said because he was Peekay's only friend and represented stability from home after the shakeup Peekay had undergone losing his Nanny and being sent away). We had mostly short answers for the questions. In answer to a question as to what really happened between the witch doctor and Peekay, Marla shared an episode in her son's life where the power of suggestion proved its strength.
It seemed to me that we noted the best qualities of the book when Phyllis said she had not read the book and asked us to tell her why she should read it. The Power of One hooks the reader almost immediately, sustains the interest via an engaging narrative and deeply developed characters, presents challenging adventures for the main character, and never loses the momentum until the end...when the mood is still there, whether or not the sequel was originally planned.
Our typically critical-of-endings group seemed satisfied with the ending. Some of us were pleasantly surprised at the end, as we had not expected or required the tying up of that particular loose end in Peekay's life. In considering whether the ending of The Power of One changed Peekay's life and what happened to him in the future, we opened the choice for each of us as to whether to read the sequel, Tandia. The book is available but out of print, so we will not be reading it as a group.