Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

FRIDAY 56 & ‘One -Eyed Cat’


Hey! Hey! Whaddya say? It’s Friday! Woop! Woop! Time for another Book Beginnings and Friday 56!

This week our Book Beginning and Friday 56 are from the same book: One-Eyed Cat. By Paula Fox. Never heard of it? No worries. We gotcha covered. Even if it is about a feline. Sort of. (Nobody’s perfect.) Let’s buckle up and jump in:

Book Beginning:

“Ned Wallis was the minister’s only child. The Congregational Church where the Reverend James Wallis preached stood on a low hill above the country lane a mile beyond the village of Tyler, New York. Close by the parsonage, a hundred yards or so from the church, was a small cemetery of weathered tombstones.”

Friday 56, from Page 156:

(It was more interesting than page 56):

“Every afternoon, Ned went to Mr. Scully’s back yard and waited for the gray cat. When it was bitterly cold, he stayed inside the woodshed, holding the paper bag of leftovers he had collected against his body so the food wouldn’t freeze. …

When Ned saw him eating, Ned felt as though he himself were being filled up, and that as the cat’s hunger eased, Ned’s thoughts were freed from it. When he was with the cat, he could be unmindful of it.”

About the Book

It starts with a gift. The Daisy rifle is a gift from Ned’s uncle. Ned’s father is none too thrilled about the gift. He puts it up in the attic until 10 year-old Ned is older. But one night, Ned sneaks into the attic and grabs the gun.

What follows is a gripping coming-of-age tale about a boy, his father and severely ill mother, his uncle, the quirky housekeeper Mrs. Scallop, the mysterious yet aptly named “Makepeace” mansion, and Mr. Scully. He’s an elderly neighbor. Ned does chores for Mr. Scully but mostly keeps him company.


Ned is worried about an injured feral cat. Is he responsible for the cat’s injury? If so, what’s next? What should he do? Should he tell someone? If so, who? If he injured the cat, what are his responsibilities?

Along with his kindly minister father, Ned is also worried about his mother. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. When Mrs. Scallop suggests that his mother’s condition was caused by Ned’s birth, his guilt and confusion are compounded.

Meanwhile, Ned’s globe-trotting Uncle Hilary has invited Ned to join him for a winter holiday. Ned is torn between the trip and his fear for the welfare of his mother and the cat. What will happen to them if he goes away on an extended vacation? If he goes, what might he find when he gets back?


Told in sparse prose with eloquent simplicity, this captivating story gently explores themes of guilt, shame, lies, consequences, and redemption without hitting your over the head with it. It’s mesmerizing. The prose has a lyrical, almost mystical quality to it. Think Natalie Babbitt-ish.

We Did

This book’s target audience is probably upper elementary/middle school. But older readers will also enjoy this finely crafted story. We did.

One-Eyed Cat is a Newbery Honor Book. Have you heard of it?

Book Beginnings is a theme where readers share the first sentence (or couple of sentences) from your current read. It’s hosted by Rose City Reader every Friday.

The Friday 56 is hosted by Frida’s Voice. Share a sentence or two-ish from page 56 or 56% in to your current read.

2 thoughts on “FRIDAY 56 & ‘One -Eyed Cat’

  1. I hope the cat is ok by the end of the book.

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