Zombie thread coming back! Run for your lives!
Sorry for the thread resurrection but I have to get this book off my chest. I just finished reading The Power of One. It is supposed to be a beautiful, inspiring tale of an English boy in South Africa who has to overcome difficulties by believing in himself, etc. I found it to be the clunkily written story of one of the worst cases of a Gary Stu I have come across.
In it, the first person narrator is incredibly intelligent, charismatic, a natural leader, a great boxer, a very good musician (the best in his posh school, although not a genius - at least that), etc. And the mythical leader the black population have been waiting for (yes, really). Everyone fell over themselves to help him. I found him to be casually arrogant towards everyone, dismissive of what so many good people sacrificed for him (including a few too many who died for him), quite willing to take the credit for things that took many people to accomplish and willing to overlook other people's need such as his mother's servant girls (the family moved across South Africa and the girls didn't speak the local language, which was great because they didn't have anything to do on their free day, so they could clean the professor's house - if he was so invested in helping the oppressed people, couldn't he have taught them a little of the language?). If Hoppie was so important to him, why didn't he never bother to ask how he was doing or follow his boxing fights? After all, there were people around him who loved boxing and knew of Hoppie, who was a minor celebrity.
The book is also filled with stereotypes. The black African characters are barely sketched caricatures. The women are treated pretty much the same way (including his mother). There is no subtlety in the plot or descriptions - the reader is pretty much beaten on the head with everything. The same phrases are used over and over. And if the author forgot to mention something, he would just start a new paragraph and add it in, doing wonders for the continuity.
To top it off, I was furious at the ending. It left all sorts of threads dangling, it felt like it came out of the blue and depended on a huge coincidence I have trouble believing in. Worst of all was the message. Despite all the good people he meets, their friendship, guidance, help and support, he can only let his loneliness (mostly of his own creating, if you ask me) go by beating up the bully. How lovely.