Review Blog

Nov 23 2011

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

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Bloomsbury, 2011. ISBN 9781408808511.
(Ages 15+) As a longtime fan of Louis Sachar I was very keen to read this new title. The main character Alton is 16 and not looking forward to his long summer holidays. His girlfriend is now going out with his best friend and he is expected to spend to drive his old, very rich and blind great Uncle to bridge tournaments four times a week. His parents are hoping that time with Alton will result in Uncle Lester giving the family some of his wealth.
Unexpectedly Alton finds himself enjoying the challenge of learning about bridge and also coming to understand the circumstances that have made Uncle Lester the way he is. He forms an alliance with teenager Toni whose family has been connected with Uncle Lester through tragedy for many years. The book has many explanations of the rules and playing strategies of bridge and these can become a little intrusive. Sachar does often give the readers warnings that explanations are coming and it is not essential that they be read.
The characters are engaging but I feel it is mainly a book about bridge rather than people. It comes as no surprise to learn that Sachar is an avid bridge player. Young people may not persevere till the end unless they also have a love of card playing.
Chris Lloyd

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