Book Review: The Cay by Theodore Taylor (Four Stars)

Book Review: The Cay by Theodore Taylor

Four Stars

“I remember smiling in the darkness. He felt neither white or black.”

Award-winning young readers novel set in the Caribbean Sea during World War Two. A white boy and an old black sailor find themselves adrift with little hope of rescue … and the boy is blind.

“Voodoo is silly, I knew, but also frightening.”

Published in 1969 this is good story telling. The eleven-year-old protagonist sounds and feels real. His attitudes and reactions ring true. He grows … a lot.

“But dis year [1942], d’sea is angry wid all d’death upon it. D’wahr.”

The text is straight-forward and should be easily read by young readers, except the pidgin spoken by Timothy. While Taylor’s dialogue captures some of the lilt of Caribbean, it makes hard reading. The dialect could have been eased, reflecting Phillip’s greater understanding of Timothy’s tongue.

“Timothy are you still black?”

Many good lessons about life and death. All its recognition justified.

“Take him, God, he was so good to me.”