One-Eyed Cat Review

One-Eyed Cat
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The year is 1935. Ned Wallis is 11 years old. For his birthday, Ned's wealthy uncle gives him an air rifle. Ned's father, a preacher in upstate New York, says that Ned is too young for a rifle, so he puts the gun in the attic, telling Ned that when he's 14, he can have it. But Ned goes to the attic after everybody else is in bed and takes the rifle outdoors. While he's aiming it just for fun, he spots a shadow of movement by the shed, and he pulls the trigger. Shooting the gun sobers him up, and he feels very guilty for disobeying his father. He puts the gun away. It has lost all excitement for him now.
Ned doesn't want to tell anybody what he did. But he's afraid because, when he went back to the house, he saw a face looking out of the attic window. He doesn't know who it was, and he doesn't know what the person saw. Then one day, while he's working at his elderly neighbor's house after school, he sees a cat. The cat is wild, dirty, and grungy --- and it only has one eye. There's just a hole where the other eye was. The cat keeps shaking his head, and he's deaf. Ned is sure that he shot the cat.
Winter is coming; Ned and his neighbor, old Mr. Scully, are afraid the cat will freeze to death. He's thin and sick from pain and hunger, and he can't hunt well with only one eye. Mr. Scully sets out food for him, and he and Ned watch through the window while the cat sleeps by the shed. At first it looks like he's going to be okay. The food perks him up. But as the days get colder and it starts snowing, the cat gets sicker. One day he's just a mound covered with snow, and he doesn't move.
Will Ned be able to tell someone what he did? How can anybody forgive him for hurting an innocent animal? What will happen when Mr. Scully has a stroke and goes to a nursing home? Can Ned take care of the cat alone? Will the cat survive? You will want to find out once you start this gripping novel, which won a Newbery Honor award in 1985.
--- Reviewed by Tamara Penny

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"Ned believes that, with a forbidden gun, he has shot out the eye of a wild cat, and his guilt poisons his life. An outstanding growing-up story for all ages about the painful secrets and the struggle to be good . . . This riveting story is spun with an eloquent simplicity that belies the skill of its telling . . . Adults and children alike will come effortlessly under the spell of this peerless storyteller . . ."--Booklist, starred review. Newbery Honor book; ALA Notable Children's Book; ALA Best Book for Young Adults; Booklist Editors' Choice; New York Times Book Review Oustanding Children's Book of the Year.

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