Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Cardturner: A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker, Louis Sachar

This book is all about bridge, a card game. I didn't think that I would be that interested in it, but I was. You wouldn't think that bridge would be so exciting, but it was. It's sort of like pinochle, but a lot more complicated, I think. It's about this boy named Alton who must be a "cardturner" for his blind, sick (and very rich) uncle who plays bridge. Alton is a sort of quirky narrator. His parents are pressuring him to get Lester, his uncle, to leave them a lot of money when he dies, but he doesn't really want to. Also, bridge is a complicated game, and he has to explain some parts of it. When he does, he puts a whale before it to show that a boring part is coming up. This is a reference to Moby Dick; in the middle of the exciting story, Melville suddenly spends about 100 pages describing every aspect of a whaling ship. In fact, when I tried to read Moby Dick, that's what turned me off. It was so boring. We don't know everything there is to know about a whaling ship! But anyway, Alton uses a whale symbol, which I thought was kind of funny. And, the sections where he explains bridge are actually pretty interesting. Inevitably, Alton's uncle Lester dies, and then he starts to hear instructions from him. Alton and Toni, a girl that he's met,  enter the national bridge competition. Toni also hears voices: from a woman named Annabel, who played bridge. You really have to read the book to understand it. It's an interesting story. 315 pages, 4 stars.

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