The Cardturner

By Louis Sachar

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Page count: 315 (Print)

I read this book because I've always liked realistic fiction, usually when I need something more calming to read. "Holes" was a pretty good book too.

In a life or death situation, I'd probably recommend it as a last read. While it does handle some heavy themes such as death and domestic abuse, the book overall is relatively light-hearted, and can calm the nerves when you're in your last moments.

Three things I loved about the book were:

  1. You have the option to either read about or skip over and get a condensed version of the bridge jargon. It's good for those who think that bridge is too complicated and don't want to read about it, making the book more accessible.
  2. It expertly chronicles the main character Alton's journey from being an absolute newbie at bridge, even when he's just a cardturner, to picking up several bridge techniques from both his uncle and research for him to competently play bridge on his own.

Two things I didn't like about the book were:

  1. The mom was, to be blunt, just unlikable. ("Your uncle is dying! Go play bridge with him and get into his will!")
  2. Alton and Toni's falling out over her telling him that she hears her grandmother's voice in her head. All he does is just stand there and say "Oh", and nothing else.

Favorite quote: "I always make the biggest fool of myself just when I think I'm being the most clever." Alton Richards, page 187

Overall, I'd recommend this book, simply because it can be gripping and suspenseful despite being relatively light hearted. It treats serious themes with respect, and it shows a journey from complete ignorance to awareness of another world around the protagonist. Anyone who likes realistic fiction and stories centered around coming to understand things should definitely give this book a try.

One thing I can say this book taught me about humanity is that we should never judge people until we hear about both sides of the story. This is best shown through the depiction of the Castaneda family, especially Annabel. At first, they were shown to be absolutely insane, mainly through Annabel's actions, such as buying the milkman's clothes and her daughter Sophie refusing millions of dollars by refusing to let Toni see her grandfather, senator Henry King. Then, later we learn that Annabel was a victim of domestic abuse, and not allowed to play bridge, forcing her to buy the milkman's clothes just so she could sneak around. This revelation no doubt changes everyone's perspective of her character, which leads me to once again say that we need to hear both sides of a person's story before we pass judgement.