By Louis Sachar
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:
- 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.
- 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:
- The mom was, to be blunt, just unlikable. ("Your uncle is dying! Go play bridge with him and get into his will!")
- 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.