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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review: The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Title: The Cardturner
Author: Louis Sachar
Published: May 2010
Source: The Library
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Alton's ageing, blind uncle asks him to attend bridge games with him, he agrees. After all, it's better than a crappy summer job in the local shopping mall, and Alton's mother thinks it might secure their way to a good inheritance sometime in the future. But, like all apparently casual choices in any of Louis Sachar's wonderful books, this choice soon turns out to be a lot more complex than Alton could ever have imagined. As his relationship with his uncle develops, and he meets the very attractive Toni, deeply buried secrets are uncovered and a romance that spans decades is finally brought to a conclusion. Alton's mother is in for a surprise!

I've been a fan of Louis Sachar ever since the good old days of Sideways Stories from Wayside School. I loved Holes with a passion, and liked Small Steps, but it's been so long since I've read anything by him that it took me the better part of a year to pick up this book. I'm pretty disappointed in myself for that, it was really enjoyable.

Let's start with the characters. All of them were very well developed, and very enjoyable to read about. Alton is a great narrator, and he actually knows that he's a narrator! He makes comments like "If I were a better author...", and "A good author would..." I always find it fun when the narrator knows he or she is narrating. It gives the book a different feel. I loved that it was from the point of view of a guy. There really aren't enough books out there from a guys perspective, which is frustrating when you're a girl and you're trying to understand guys in general.

I loved Trapp, Alton's uncle. He took some getting used to, but once I got a feel for him I thought he was hilarious. And the dynamics between Trapp and his bridge partner Gloria were great. I could just tell that they knew each other really well. Toni, the love interest, was interesting. At first it was hard to separate who she was supposed to be from who she really was. Oh, and Alton's parents! They just made me so mad! All they cared about was money!

The pacing of this book is hard to judge, because a lot of the book is used to explain something in relation to bridge. Which I don't understand. At all. Admittedly I didn't try very hard; I skipped over all of the parts that were designated as only about bridge. I thought that Sachar did a pretty good job writing a book around a card game few people play anymore; I was never outright confused as to what was going on and I only got really bored a couple times.

Something that it took me a while to remember is that Sachar has no problem with supernatural things. This book seems completely normal, but there are a few parts that, well, aren't. I'm not going to elaborate because that would give away a couple very important things.

Basically, this book was very enjoyable! I love that it's from a guy's perspective, and it was very easy to read.

Characters: 9/10
Plot: 7/10
Originality: 10/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Overall: 44/50 B+


  1. Ahh oh my gosh I LOVED this book! I can't find reviews of it anywhere, which is a shame since it's so brilliant and funny. Thanks for the awesome review; it's good to know I'm not the only one who's read it lately. :D

  2. I loved this book as well! Great review of The Cardturner. :)

  3. I remember Jackson Pearce said this one is really good. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. I liked Holes but enjoyed this book even more! Yes, I also liked the parts where the Alton referred to himself as the author. Somehow that narrows the gap between narrator and reader.

    I know nothing about bridge but still found the book enjoyable. I loved the characters especially Leslie and Uncle Lester. :) One of the best books I've read this year. Here is my review.


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