The Power of One

“This is what happened.

“Before my life started properly, I was doing the usual mewling and sucking, which in my case occurred on a pair of huge, soft black breasts. In the African tradition I continued to suckle for my first two and a half years, after which my Zulu wet nurse became my nanny. She was a person made for laughter, warmth, and softness and she would clasp me to her breasts and stroke my golden curls with a hand so large it seemed to palm my whole head. My hurts were soothed with a song about a brave young warrior hunting a lion and a women's song about doing the washing down on the big rock beside the river where, at sunset, the baboons would come out of the hills to drink.”

Maybe I'm a philistine, but I loved this novel. What's more, everyone I recommended it to who read it loved it as well. It's not great literature, but neither is it trash, and it is immensely enjoyable. It's a “coming of age” story about an English boy growing up in South Africa in the 1930's and 1940's. The plot is full of marvelous twists and turns, memorable heroes and villians.... It's enjoyable on a variety of levels, from its descriptions of Africa to the tribulations and triumphs of “Peekay”.... whose nickname is based on the word “pisshead” in Afrikaner! By the way, this book was made into a mediocre movie (although it had a good soundtrack.) Skip the movie, but by all means, read the book!

I give it **** (out of ****).

This book may be at your library, or can be ordered from Amazon Books.

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