The Book Reviews – Website

March 10, 2008

One-Eyed Cat

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One-Eyed Cat

Author: Paula Fox

Page Length: 216

Reading Level: 6


REVIEW & PLOT SUMMARY: Eleven year old Ned Wallis lives in a rural area in 1935. His father is a preacher of the nearby small community church; his mother suffers from crippling arthritis and is bed ridden or wheelchair bound throughout much of the story. Ned is a generally agreeable young man who does as he’s told and is respectful of those around him. His rich uncle visits one day and gives him an unexpected gift – an air rifle. Ned’s father is outraged claiming Ned to young. He takes the gun away and places it in the attic. Ned can’t resist the temptation; after everyone is in bed, Ned takes the air rifle from the attic and sneaks outside. Something moves in the night and Ned takes aim and fires. Feeling guilty for having shot something and for disobeying his parents, Ned returns the gun to the. His actions are never discovered; yet, the rest of the book is focused on his guilt.


Ned visits elderly Mr. Scully daily to help him with chores and to be with him. One day, a one-eyed cat shows up. Mr. Scully notes that something has recently damaged the cat’s eye; Ned is sure it was him. He becomes caught up in the cat’s survival. He and Mr. Scully become engrossed with the daily activities of the cat. Mr. Scully finds that the cat assuages his loneliness; Ned finds that the cat’s survival assuages his guilt.


Mr. Scully is growing weaker and winter is setting in. Will Mr. Scully and the cat be able to survive the harsh conditions? Will Ned’s mother’s condition improve? Will Ned everyone divulge his horrible secret to anyone?  Will the guilt and the lies consume his life?


AREAS FOR TEACHING: The way Paula Fox presents the issues of the elderly in this book is moving. I think understanding the loneliness and the inability to do for one’s self anymore would be a great lesson for all students. We really must impress upon our students how their grandparents and others around them are the same as they always were (in thoughts and feelings); however, they are limited by their present ability levels. This book is also a fabulous tool for gaining an understanding of the treacherous web telling just one lie or committing one dishonest act leads to. Overall, I think that this book would appeal more to the boys. I found it slow at times and difficult to stay engaged in. Yet, if the reader hangs on until the end, the book is a moving story with an excellent message.




REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor




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