Terri's Reviews > The Cardturner: A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
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's review
Dec 06, 2010

really liked it
Read on December 06, 2010

I picked this audiobook up at the public library knowing only that it was Louis Sachar's latest. Sachar reads it himself, and I was very disappointed when I heard him say it was about the game of bridge. I have never played the game and was never interested in learning. But since it was the only audiobook I had in the car, I kept listening.

Was I pleasantly surprised! Bridge is a large part of the book and there are frequent explanations of strategies and rules, but they didn't detract. In fact, it was just the opposite. I find myself reading bridge instructions on the web! A game that held no interest for me is now at the top of my "To Learn" list.

But bridge is only the device of the tale. The true story is the relationships between Alton and his family and friends. Alton's parents see Uncle Lester as a means to a wealthy end and press Alton to agree to turn cards for the elderly blind man at his bridge club. The cold, distant man whose heart is "like a brick" quickly fascinates Alton and becomes a mentor and an inspiration to his young cardturner. Alton's analytical mind picks up the game by watching and soon finds himself amazed by "Trap"'s ability to remember his cards and all those that have been played despite his blindness. Alton finds himself playing and analyzing hands with his little sister Leslie and even with "crazy" Toni Casteneda, the attractive niece of Trap's ex-wife. Alton and his sister Leslie seem almost too honorable to have been reared by their grasping parents, but readers will be strongly in his corner.

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