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One-Eyed Cat (2000)

One-Eyed Cat (2000)

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3.35 of 5 Votes: 5
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0689839707 (ISBN13: 9780689839702)

About book One-Eyed Cat (2000)

This is the second book I’ve read by Paula Fox, the first was Slave Dancer. She is very good at writing characters. I swear I’ve met Mrs. Scallop before—she’s a close acquaintance!“It was the time he’d been happy and hadn’t known it. When he was happy now, he would remind himself he was. He would say, At this moment I’m happy, and that was different from simply being a certain way and not having to give it a name.”“Mrs. Scallop, thought Ned, would have been insulted by such a cake. She was insulted several times a day—by bad weather, by stories in the newspaper, by a crow scolding from the old maple tree outside the kitchen window. “That crow is positively insulting,” she had said to Ned.”” Sounds like someone I know…“In an emergency, Mrs. Kimball would come to stay with Ned’s mother, but it was hard for her to get away from home because she had so many babies, one on her hip, one hanging from her neck, and sometimes a third on her lap. At least, that’s the way it seemed to Ned who was pretty sure he’d never seen her without an infant clinging to some part of her body.” “…you must beware of people who wear their hearts on their sleeves; it’s not the natural place to keep your heart—it turns rusty and thin, and it leaves you hollow inside.”“I learned how nice it is to watch an animal instead of pouncing on it and hugging it every minute, covering up its nature with your own.”“When there was a splinter in his foot, it was all he could think about; he would forget that every part of his body except where the splinter was felt fine. That’s the way it was now with the attic. The gun was like a splinter in his mind.”“I used to think kind, humane people were the only ones to understand other people. It’s not true at all. Mrs. Scallop understands…I think each person is a puzzle for her and, in time, she solves the puzzle.”…Wouldn’t it be mean…to give her to someone else?” “His mother laughed. “That’s not what happens…Your Papa and I both know she would be very god in certain circumstances. What she needs is a small country of her own to run.”“…she enjoyed seeing people eat what she cooked…he imagined Mrs. Scallop stuffing the whole Wallis family so full of food that they would all float up into the sky, and she would gather the strings that held them to the earth and carry them around like a bunch of human balloons.”Of Mrs. Scallop: “Do bullies know they’re bullies? Ned wondered. Do people know when they’re boasting?”“One of the few nice things about age is you can give in to yourself in little ways. I wouldn’t have dreamed of drinking a cup of tea in the middle of the night when I was young. Who ever heard of such a thing?”Of Mrs. Scallop: “He opened his mouth and she said at once, before he could speak, “Calm down, calm down.” He hated the way she spoke in that false soothing voice, as if she owned the country of calm and he was some kind of fool who’d stumbled across its borders.”Ned’s mom trying to figure out what’s bothering him: “Ned, why can’t you go with Uncle Hilary? A person shouldn’t have to tell everything, but sometimes a thing gets in the way of a person’s life. I feel as if something has happened to you.”His mother: “It’s not really haunted, Neddy,” she said, more firmly. “I think there are presences everywhere, the souls of all who have gone through this world.”Of someone on hospice after a stroke: “How still Mr. Scully was! Did something inside him run about—trying to find a way out? What did he think about?”...He hardly said anything during the few minutes he stood beside Mr. Suclly’s bed. He felt an impulse to touch him, his shoulder, his white cheek, but he was afraid that it would startle the old man, or that his skin would feel as fragile and dusty as a moth’s wing.”Of Mrs. Scallop: “He didn’t know what to say to her. All the sadness he had felt for Mr. Scully had filled him in that first moment he’d seen him lying on the floor with his arms outstretched. All along Ned had been expecting Mr. Scully to die. There was no point in explaining that to Mrs. Scallop. She was a person to whom nothing, he thought, could ever be explained. She was locked inside of her own opinions like a prisoner.”

One-Eyed Cat is a fine humane education selection, particularly for public and school libraries in rural areas where a child's first BB gun is a rite of passage. Despite being forbidden to do so by his father, young Ned sneaks out one night for some target practice with his new Daisy rifle. Without thinking, he fires at a creeping, shadowy figure. When he later spots a wounded cat who is missing one eye, the boy is haunted by guilt. Fox explores big themes like taking responsibility for one's actions and the ways in which careless behaviors can impact others in serious and unforeseen ways. All good stuff. She also introduces the idea that even the life of a skinny stray cat has meaning, and, to paraphrase an old saying, "the squirrel you shoot in jest, dies in earnest."I couldn't, however, avoid picking up the irony of Ned's selective sympathy toward animals. While digging into plates of lamb chops or turkey, his mind is tormented by the thought of the cat suffering and dying as a result of his choices. The animals on the plate are just as capable of suffering greatly for our whims, but they are invisible to him.Despite this oversight, One Eyed Cat imparts a message which still needs to be absorbed in many communities.

Do You like book One-Eyed Cat (2000)?

This is a sweet, beautiful, wonderful book. I think it is a children's/ young adult type book, for advanced young readers. I think it is pretty deep. Seems like a lot of reading but very good. It takes place in the Depression era. A boy disobeys his father by firing a gun which he wasn't supposed to use till he was over. He later sees a cat with one eye missing and is riddled with guilt for months. The cat is starving so he and this elderly man he takes care of feed it and attempt to nurse it back to health. I could not put the book down, I wanted to find out what happens to the poor one-eyed cat! The boy feels very guilty but he winds up in a whole web of lies when he starts telling one fib after another to hide his guilt. Themes running through this book include obedience, telling the truth, listening to your conscience, being responsible, and also redemption. I DEFINITELY recommend this book whether you are a child or an adult. It is excellent.
—Amy Flink

I read this book once when I was in elementary school, but all I remembered was the boy with the gun, and the cat. I was therefore surprised to find so much more depth to it than I recalled. The tone was quiet and gray; it somewhat reminded me of "The Secret Garden" in that respect.While this story was small and introspective in scope, the beautiful writing and philosophical tones made it a satisfying and full literary feast.It dealt with age and illness, guilt and how a child learns to see the world as he gets older. I would definitely recommend it.

This book to me was beautifully written, but the religious agenda got tiresome. Ned's father is a reverend, first of all. Which, at first, seems merely like his occupation, not meant to consume the story. It doesn't, but the constant allusions to pain and suffering, whether the cat's, the mother's, or Mr. Scully's (which were consistently paralleled) became an obvious outlet for Fox to incorporate a healing process. Mr. Scully, the cat, and Mrs. Wallis all regress in their illness during the chapter "The Strength of Life," and then they all vastly improve within the same chapter. Mr. Scully and the cat eventually melt into one character, when Mr. Scully has a stroke, Ned begins to resent the cat and stops feeding it after falling ill himself. The book ends with the onset of Spring, the theme of rebirth and again, healing (the mother is walking, the cat has had kittens, Ned has finally CONFESSED his actions to his mother and his guilt is lifted). The final scene shows his father opening the door to their house ("dressed in a robe and leather slippers"), a "light shines on them" and he "welcomes them home." This doesn't even scratch the surface, but it just got too overwhelming and indiscreet.Who knows, maybe it's all a coincidence because I cannot find a single article, journal or review acknowledging what seemed to me to be blatant religious symbolism, but regardless it seemed obvious to me.

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