Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Review: The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 2010
ISBN: 9780385736626

Source: Library 

The Cardturner 

Alton Richards was not intending to spend his summer turning cards for his old, rich, blind uncle.  But, when the opportunity arises, his mother can't wait to volunteer him.  Despite knowing nothing about bridge, Alton is willing to earn a little money driving him to his bridge club and telling him what cards he has.  Little does he expect to become fascinated with the game and with his Uncle Lester's interesting past. 

Things I Liked:
There is definitely nothing I've ever read quite like this story.  While telling us the story of what happens, Alton throws in short sections describing how the game of bridge works, rules, tactics, etc.  I loved how Alton felt like a real person - he would have been someone I would want to be friends with in high school.  His sometimes snarky and sarcastic style of narrating kept the laughs coming, even when you didn't really think you would be interested in more information about bridge.   I was a big fan of Trapp as well (Uncle Lester) simply because he was so stubbornly ornery about everything.  And he had an interesting history.  Sachar really has a way of making you like the book because you like the characters, even if you think it is a boring topic.  A fun, interesting, and very unique story.  Some favorite parts:

Have you ever been in a situation where you've been with someone for a while and you don't know that person's name? It's too late to ask, but you know the longer you go without asking, the more awkward it will become.  ...That's how I'm feeling right now, only in reverse.  By the way, my name is Alton Richards.  A talented author would have skillfully slipped that in earlier, probably on the very first page. p 7
I realize it's a cliche for a teenager to be embarrassed by his parents.  Cliff often complained about his paretns, but I always thought they were pretty cool.  Was it possible, I wondered, that there was somebody, somewhere, who thought my parents were cool? p 89
Things I Didn't Like:
I admit that about half-way through, when a certain event happens, I lost a bit of interest in the story.  I thought it went a little wacky from there, which was probably what it intended to do, but it made it less enjoyable for me.  Interesting, yes, but just not where I would have taken the story.

probably just because it is also by Sachar, but it felt a bit like Holes

Aces Up by Lauren Barnholdt
Big Slick by Eric Luper

s-factor: !
very few (impressively enough)

mrg-factor: X
a hint or two, nothing much

v-factor: ->
a little mention of domestic violence

Overall rating: **** 

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  1. I thought this was an interesting book in some ways, but I think if he hadn't been a best-selling author it would never have been published. Both my teenagers found it really boring. My 16-year old couldn't believe any teens would be interested in reading it! I didn't like the paranormal twist at the end--I just didn't think it fit. I'd love to hear what some teens think of this book; so far I've only heard from adults.

  2. Fourth, I'm with you on this. It probably never would have been published. I was impressed with how well it kept my attention despite the boring parts. And, as you might have guessed, I didn't like the paranormal aspect either. I'd like to know about teens' reactions too.


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