Friday 10 August 2012

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Title: The Cardturner
Author: Louis Sachar
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Page Count: 336
Publication Date: 2010


When Alton's ageing, blind uncle asks him to attend bridge games with him, he agrees. After all, it's better than a crappy summer job in the local shopping mall, and Alton's mother thinks it might secure their way to a good inheritance sometime in the future. But, like all apparently casual choices in any of Louis Sachar's wonderful books, this choice soon turns out to be a lot more complex than Alton could ever have imagined. As his relationship with his uncle develops, and he meets the very attractive Toni, deeply buried secrets are uncovered and a romance that spans decades is finally brought to a conclusion. Alton's mother is in for a surprise!

What I Thought: 

A year or so ago I came across this book when I was looking for a few random things to read and the other day when I heard someone mention bridge I couldn't help but think of The Cardturner, so I decided to dig my copy out of a dusty pile and reread it which I suppose is what lead me to writing this review.

I’ll be honest, before I read this book (the first time) I’d never even heard of a game called Bridge, and I wasn’t sure how Sachar was going make a book with a card game being one of the primary focuses but I was pleasantly surprised, that being said this book isn’t for everyone and takes some patience.

Alton Richards is an ordinary teenage boy. He isn’t perfect but he isn’t the brooding, mysterious type either for a change. What I found particularly interesting was his relationship with his old, blind and very rich uncle. He isn’t a particularly nice person but Alton puts up with him at the wishes of his mother who is, to put it quite bluntly, money-crazed. At first, the task of becoming his uncle’s card turner is tedious and quite awkward as he’s doing it purely to put his family on the right side of his uncle who, like I said, is old and rich.

Not only is he being pressured into this situation by his parents, at the start we find out that his best friend is dating his ex-girlfriend. So although things aren’t looking too great for Alton I assure you, a few chapters in it picks up.

Whenever Alton explains certain rules of Bridge we are presented with a small icon of a whale (Moby Dick) as a warning so we can skip it if we aren’t that interested. Even though I was given the opportunity to skip these parts I decided to read them anyway because despite my confusion towards the way the game worked, I was still interested and wanted to learn. To this day I don’t understand anything other than the basics of Bridge and I’ve never won a game. I'm guessing I'm just not that great at Bridge, that being said, if you're looking to become a professional Bridge player I wouldn't recommend that you use this book as your sole guide to the game.

It’s a nice book with well thought out story so if you’re looking for an ordinary, no thrills read I’d give it a look.

Rating: 4/5


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