Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Theodore Taylor's The Cay


This isn't the cover on the copy I just read, but it is the one I recall from my childhood

Title: The Cay
Author: Theodore Taylor
Publishing Info: Delacourt Press, 1969.  137 pages.
Source: Library

Another Middle Grade Classic review!

Phillip and his mother are traveling from Curacao to the US to escape the early days of WWII, when the freighter they are on is torpedoed.  When Phillip comes to, he is on a raft with only an old black West Indian man and the ship's cat.  To make matters worse, a blow on the head leaves him blind.  When they wash up on a tiny, deserted cay, Phillip has a lot to learn.

This book won a lot of awards, and it's easy to see why.  It tackles issues from war (touches on the topic, anyway) to racial relations.  Ultimately, it is about learning to see in a whole new way.  Philip is a pretty ordinary boy when the ship goes down.  But after 5 or 6 months on the cay, he is both extraordinary and no longer a boy.  I like that he has his horrid moments--not just times when he despairs, but times when he is hateful to Timothy, the black man.  He echoes the prejudices of his Virginian mother, just because he is angry, and he gives in to despair and refuses to work for days after going blind.  In other words, he reacts normally.  And then he rises to the occasion, even when he is overcome by grief and desperation.  We should all have a fraction of his courage.

A quick read for anyone who likes exciting and inspiring stories.

Note: I also just found that Taylor wrote a prequel/sequel called Timothy of the Cay, which seems to have mixed reviews, at least on Goodreads.  I will probably check this out, because I'm a sucker to know more about characters I like!
Full Disclosure: I checked  The Cay  out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Visiting on the 23rd day of the #Challenge. Looks like you are having a good time giving your readers good information with your review. Thanks!

    1. Thanks! I try. I'm really enjoying doing reviews for most of the books I read these days.

  2. I just wrote a novel that's set on Curacao, so it's exciting to see another book that involves the island. Most people have never heard of it.

    Sounds like an interesting read!

    1. That's cool! I remember not wanting to read this as a kid. I think the title put me off because I had NO idea what a "Cay" was, and the cover was a little scary.

  3. I've not heard of this book. I love following a librarian around but it plays hell with my intention of reducing my to-read list! :)

    1. I started the sequel/prequel last night. I'll let you know if it's worth it :)


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