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The Cay (1969)

by Theodore Taylor

Series: The Cay (1)

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4,482852,632 (3.83)42
When the freighter on which they are traveling is torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II, an adolescent white boy, blinded by a blow on the head, and an old black man are stranded on a tiny Caribbean island where the boy acquires a new kind of vision, courage, and love from his old companion.… (more)
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» See also 42 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
I listened to this one as an audio book and enjoyed the Calypso accent of Timothy (character) rendered by Michael Boatman (narrator). Young Phillip must learn that his mother's attitude about others, based purely on their color is unreasonable and unkind, much like his new companion's superstition about their third companion, a black cat, as fate rips the three of them from their lives and leaves them to fend for themselves against all odds. A great story of companionship and survival for any age. ( )
  TraSea | Apr 29, 2024 |
Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curaçao. War has always been a game to him, and he's eager to glimpse it firsthand - until the freighter he and his mother are traveling to the United States on is torpedoed.

When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timothy. Phillip remembers his mother's warning about black people: "They are different, and they live differently."

But by the time the castaways arrive on a small island, Phillip's head injury has made him blind and dependent on Timothy.
  PlumfieldCH | Sep 21, 2023 |
READING LEVEL: 5.3 AR POINTS: 4.0
(Ages 9-12, grades 4-5)

A classic historical novel originally published in 1969. This novel starts out with some pretty harsh racism but later shows those walls were broken down by the main character’s blindness. I found this very symbolic for the way we should see all races, which I believe this author was trying to convey to young readers back in 1969.

It is 1942, the world is at war, and German submarines have surrounded Curacao, the largest Dutch island off the coast of Venezuela. Phillip Enright, age 11, was at first excited but quickly learned war was not fun-and-games as he witnessed a tanker being blown to smithereens when it left port and headed out to sea.

His mother insisted on leaving the island and head back to the safety of America, but his father was bound and had to stay for his work in the war. So, just the two of them boarded a schooner, the HATO, believing it to be safe to exit the harbor, and headed back to Virginia, where they were originally from, for the duration of World War II. But, their schooner was torpedoed. Phillip found himself and the rest of the crew who had made it into the rescue boat, thrown into the sea. He was knocked hard in the head by debris and passed out.

Phillip was scooped up out of the sea by an old black islander named Timothy. They drifted for several days on the high seas trying to survive when suddenly Phillip went blind from the knock in the head, which had damaged some nerves. They drifted and drifted until they came upon a small and obscure low-lying island (called a cay), hidden out in the Caribbean in an area known as the Devil’s Mouth. There, Phillip did a lot of growing up during the two and a half months spent alone on that island with Timothy.

Once a spoiled, racist and scared little kid, and without his eyesight to reveal the differences in his black rescuer Timothy and himself, he learned to trust, depend and eventually love wise old Timothy. He no longer saw Timothy as an ugly, old and stupid black man. He may have not been educated, but he was very smart on survival skills and very patient and loving towards Phillip. Timothy taught Phillip not to use excuses, such as being blind, to do nothing. He set Phillip up for survival on the island alone just encase he, himself, didn’t make it. In the end, old Timothy did give his life protecting Phillip, something Phillip will never forget.

Because of Timothy's strong character, this experience changed Phillips relationships forever with the other black islanders on Curacao once he was rescued and returned to the island. He was no longer afraid and actually made a point to mingle and get to know them better. ( )
  MissysBookshelf | Aug 27, 2023 |
There is a prequel to this book that is titled "Timothy of the Cay."
  vashonpatty | Aug 1, 2023 |
There is a prequel to this book titled "Timothy of the Cay."
  vashonpatty | Aug 1, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
Mary Purucker (KLIATT Review, July 2005 (Vol. 39, No. 4))
Twelve-year-old Philip's ordeal as a castaway after the ship he was on was torpedoed in 1942 has never lost its appeal as a strong survival tale with two strong characters. When German submarines increase their activity off the coast of Venezuela, Philip's mother insists that the two of them leave the island of Curacao where his father works for an oil refinery, but she refuses to fly and they take passage on a ship. Not many days go by before they are blown out of the water and Philip finds himself on a raft with a gigantic elderly black man and the ship's cat. His mother's prejudices at first make him uncomfortable with Timothy, but he learns to love and respect him. Suffering from a severe blow to his head, in a few days Philip becomes totally blind and totally dependent on Timothy. When they finally land on a small island, a cay, Timothy teaches him the skills to survive even if he is left alone. Michael Boatman narrates in a straightforward way, easily giving Phillip a slight Southern accent and Timothy's voice a West Indian flavor. The pacing and timing are perfect as the pair battle the elements, get to know each other, and prepare for potential rescue. Category: Fiction Audiobooks. KLIATT Codes: J*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2005 (orig. 1969), Listening Library, 3 cds. 3 hrs.; Vinyl; plot, author, reader notes., $30.00. Ages 12 to 15.

added by kthomp25 | editKLIATT Review, Mary Purucker
 

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To Dr. King's dream, which can only come true if the very young know and understand it.
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Like silent, hungry sharks that swim in the darkness of the sea, the German submarines arrived in the middle of the night.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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When the freighter on which they are traveling is torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II, an adolescent white boy, blinded by a blow on the head, and an old black man are stranded on a tiny Caribbean island where the boy acquires a new kind of vision, courage, and love from his old companion.

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When the freighter on which they are traveling is torpedoed by a German submarine during World War II, an adolescent white boy, blinded by a blow on the head, and an old black man are stranded on a tiny Caribbean island where the boy acquires a new kind of vision, courage, and love from his old companion.
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