In The Cardturner, Alton Richards is forced by his mother to be his old, sick, blind, and rich Great-Uncle Lester Trapp's cardturner at the local bridge club. Mr. Richards just lost his job, and Mrs. Richards is hoping that Alton can worm his way into the uncle's good graces, securing a spot in the will. Alton very reluctantly agrees, though bridge is the farthest thing from his idea of a good time, and is thus drawn into the world of bridge. He begins to follow the game and enjoy going, eventually meeting and becoming friends with Toni Castaneda, who has been classified as "crazy" by Alton's parents.
Prior to finding The Cardturner on the "new books" shelf at my local library, I had read Sachar's Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Holes, and Small Steps. I loved the first two, but didn't like Small Steps that much, so I wasn't sure what to expect from The Cardturner, especially as I had no experience in reading YA bridge novels (understandably, as I'm pretty sure there's only one). Much to my surprise, I enjoyed The Cardturner very nearly as much as I liked Holes - in other words, a lot. All the characters are great, though the Richards parents are not all that likeable, and Trapp (or "Uncle Lester," as Alton's parents would like him to be called) was my absolute favorite. As Sachar pointed out in a preface, it would be difficult to write a book about bridge without writing about the mechanics of the game, and The Cardturner does contain quite a bit of technical bridge-talk. However, these sections are kindly prefaced with a small picture of a whale, in reference to Moby Dick, and a short summary follows the lengthier description. While I didn't really understand a lot of the technical stuff, I did read and enjoy the sections - I just didn't always quite follow them.
If someone had told me a week ago that I would be reading a book about bridge by Louis Sachar, I would by no means have believed them. However, here I am, writing this review of The Cardturner, a book about bridge which I absolutely loved. If there is one thing I didn't like about the book, it was that I couldn't always understand what was going on bridge-wise, but I still enjoyed reading those sections. Overall, I highly enjoyed The Cardturner, and I would recommend it.
"It's good to be home! Let's have a party!"
4 years ago