Review : The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
How are we supposed to be partners? He can’t see the cards and I don’t know the rules!
The summer after junior year of high school looks bleak for Alton Richards. His girlfriend has dumped him to hook up with his best friend. He has no money and no job. His parents insist that he drive his great-uncle Lester to his bridge club four times a week and be his cardturner—whatever that means. Alton’s uncle is old, blind, very sick, and very rich.
But Alton’s parents aren’t the only ones trying to worm their way into Lester Trapp’s good graces. They’re in competition with his longtime housekeeper, his alluring young nurse, and the crazy Castaneda family, who seem to have a mysterious influence over him.
Alton soon finds himself intrigued by his uncle, by the game of bridge, and especially by the pretty and shy Toni Castaneda. As the summer goes on, he struggles to figure out what it all means, and ultimately to figure out the meaning of his own life.
This is actually the second time I have attempted to read this book. I read it once (well tried to), but only got 50 or so pages in before I gave up. It's been a few months since then so I decided to give it a go again and I managed to get all the way through it and enjoyed it also.
I have read other books by Louis Sachar, which pushed me to pick up this one when I first heard about it. I had previously read : Holes, Small Steps and There's a Boy In The Girl's Bathroom. I found this one to have the same Louis Sachar humour, which pleased me as I loved the humour in his previous books.
The book is littered with bridge rules and notes, some which made sense to me but most of them were complete nonsense and just went straight over my head. If you are reading this book, and you don't want to read all the "bridge gibberish" then you don't have to, it doesn't take away anything from the story. When you get into the book and Alton begins to learn about Bridge, Louis puts a symbol for when there is going to be a section with a lot of bridge tactics/rules, therefore you can just skip forward if you feel the need to (I did this a lot!). At the end of a section of bridge gibberish there is a little summary box, which inside Louis simplifies all of the bridge gibberish in one or two sentences.
Alton is the main character and I did like him, however much like his younger sister Leslie I found myself shouting at the page, urging him to do something (with Toni mostly). He was quite easy to like, which made it easier to properly get into the story. You sort of had to like him - he is the main character.
The grandfather (Trapp) I found to be quite likeable, despite his moodiness and sarcastic jokes. He had a dry sense of humour, which sometimes tricked Alton - Alton never knew when he was making a joke or when he was being serious. Obviously, Trapp is a genius Bridge player - which doesn't go down to well with Alton's video game obsession (however that obsession doesn't last for long). The pair don't really seem to be people who would instantly get along, and they don't - they had quite a mixed relationship. However the pair worked well together and I think that helped the story flow.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I would rate it a 3.5/5. If you do want to get into Louis Sachar's writing however, I wouldn't recommend starting with this one as it was a lot harder (for me anyway) to get into the story than his others.
Okay, anyway that is it for the Non-Spoiler section, so if you haven't read the book then.. Bye!
To be honest, I don't have that much more to say about The Cardturner as I managed to say quite a lot of my thoughts in the first section, however I do have a couple of things I want to talk about.
1) Toni & Alton
I was so frustrated throughout the story with these two! It was obvious that Alton liked Toni (he constantly mentioned her character!), however he didn't seem to fight for her - it was if he didn't want her when he did.
2) Trapp's Death
It was quite obvious (well, for me anyway) that Trapp was going to die at some point in the story and not everything was going to go to plan with his will. I was expecting it, therefore when he died I was just like 'okay. Trapp just died. okay.' - I didn't really care, but I really wished I did!
Anyway, that's really all I have to say for the Spoiler section and for the review in general. If you guys would like me to do a sort of discussion post with you about this book then let me know below in the comments and I can do one.
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