The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

This is a fast, engaging and surprisingly informative read. Having loved “Holes”, I had high expectations and I wasn’t disappointed.

An avid bridge player ( if you are interested, check out  https://www.bridgedoctor.com), Sachar does an amazing job of interweaving the rules and passion of playing the game into an engaging and ultimately spiritual narrative.

We meet Alton, a regular guy who has just lost his girlfriend to his best friend. His family are waiting for rich Uncle Lester Trapp to die so they can inherit his vast fortune. He has lost his sight, so they decide to keep him happy by asking Alton to be his “cardturner” so he can continue his favourite hobby: bridge. He doesn’t know it – or welcome it – but this request is going to change Alton’s life forever.

Slowly but surely Alton falls in love with bridge and a girl called Toni – Uncle Lester’s ex-cardturner who encourages Alton to try to play himself. The relationship between Alton and his uncle strengthens, but when he suddenly dies, Alton hears his voice leading him to continue in his bridge footsteps. The adventure that ensues is exciting and educational for both the characters and the reader alike; I couldn’t put the book down!

As a non-bridge player, I wouldn’t say reading the book lead me to understand the game fully, but I can say that I am now intrigued by it and have a lot of respect for those that play.

With sympathetic and relatable characters that have stayed with me, this is an easy to read first person narrative that dares to break the fourth wall at times – engaging and honest.

Rating: 4.2/5

Why? Perhaps the focus on a game you may not understand could put you off. It does get quite technical at times.

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