Location: Reading Wednesday
Book Review – The Power Of One by Bryce Courtenay ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I loved this book. This is not a new book written in 1989, I’m surprised I’ve never read it before. Recommended to me by my friend Kim while I was in South Africa, this is a beautifully written story of a young-boy growing up in South Africa in the 1940’s when the seeds of apartheid were taking hold.
The book introduces us to young Peekay when he is only a tyke of five years. This is when his life’s adventures begin, and the people who will forever influence him begin passing through his life. An interesting mix of adults will mark Peekay’s life and future, as he endures abandonment, prejudice and humiliation.
Peekay finds himself in situations that are often complex, racially charged and violent. Through these lessons he begins to realize the power of one – how one person can make a difference. He begins to understand how to work the system, support those in need, examine the world around him and build a lofty set of goals and dreams to achieve.
And he does! He builds his own character while befriending this diverse collection of adults who, one by one, lead him down a path towards a fulfilling life.
The Power of One is a timeless and beautiful classic, perfect for these racially charged times we are living in today.
Five Stars for The Power Of One
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly ⭐️⭐️⭐️
First of all the name of this book is all wrong. But luckily that didn’t matter much. It’s a good, but not fantastic story based on real events, exceptional women and survival. I was on a long wait list for this book so I expected a bit more from it.
Kelly takes the reader on a journey, following three women from distinctly different backgrounds during World War II. Herta a young German doctor trying to prove herself as both a doctor and a woman. Kasia a young Polish women and a member of the resistance in Nazi occupied Poland. And Caroline Ferriday a real women whose bravery and work to right injustice is little known in the USA. Caroline is a wealthy American woman of French ancestry fighting the war from the states the only way she can- by volunteering, processing French immigrants, helping get children out of Europe and collecting money from her wealthy circle of “friends”.
The separate paths of these women will collide, but before that happens each of these women will make decisions that lead to regret in ways none of them could have ever foreseen as happy young girls growing up.
Lilac Girls, much like the book Mischling I read last year, will open your eyes to the horrors of Nazi Germany and the far reaching effects of racial cleansing and Arian supremacy.
Although based on a real life woman (Ferriday) the other characters are a conglomeration of real and fictional women. The story dragged a bit towards the end but I appreciated the ending and the photos from Ferriday’s personal collection. Only at the end of the book are lilacs even mentioned. I found the title completely ridiculous, and a better title I believe would create more interest in what is another interesting WWII novel.
The Lilac Girls 4 stars