“How are we supposed to be partners? He can’t see the cards and I don’t know the rules!”
The summer after junior year of high school looks bleak for Alton Richards. His girlfriend has dumped him to hook up with his best friend. He has no money and no job. His parents insist that he drive his great-uncle Lester to his bridge club four times a week and be his cardturner—whatever that means. Alton’s uncle is old, blind, very sick, and very rich.
But Alton’s parents aren’t the only ones trying to worm their way into Lester Trapp’s good graces. They’re in competition with his longtime housekeeper, his alluring young nurse, and the crazy Castaneda family, who seem to have a mysterious influence over him.
Alton soon finds himself intrigued by his uncle, by the game of bridge, and especially by the pretty and shy Toni Castaneda. As the summer goes on, he struggles to figure out what it all means, and ultimately to figure out the meaning of his own life.
That’s right, a book about bridge. As in the card game.
My initial thoughts:
“A book about bridge?…. Am I seriously going to read a book about bridge?….”
“Hah! That can’t be true! I bet it’s not really a book about bridge but it turns out to be that the cards open up a portal to a fantasy world of cards and knights and stuff! I’ll read that! Plus, it’s written by Louis Sachar!”
My final-page thoughts:
“….Well, that was a book about bridge…..”
There were high points to this book, just like any other book. One thing I really appreciated about this book was that, as Louis Sachar states in the very beginning of the book, Louis Sachar fully realized that his readers would be like: “Yeah, bridge…isn’t that like–a card game?” or “Yeah…what?”
I really liked the initial setup of the story. The pacing was decent and the concept of the book was interesting, but let’s face facts folks, this book was way over my head.
I guess, in the end, that was my real problem with this book. The explanations of bridge kind of killed this story for me. It wasn’t that I didn’t see this coming, and Louis Sachar actually puts a little picture of a whale on the page to alert you, but I just couldn’t deal with it. I knew absolutely nothing about what the book was centered around, even when I reread passages and Googled phrases. I, at least, learned the basic phrases and rules, but still. I’m only scratching the surface of what bridge is about. Yeah, I’ll stick to my Egyptian Ratscrew, Bullshit and Gin Rummy along with my Uno and Phase Ten. ¬_¬
As I read this book, I thought Louis Sachar’s passion for bridge is clearly shown, and reading certain passages was more fun because of that. I loved the characters of this story, especially Alton and Toni. The wry and funny observations of Alton and the romance between Alton and Toni was really fun to read.
I really like Louis Sachar’s writing voice, and the different elements to this book were pretty interesting. It was great to read some more of his writing, because I loved Holes. I hope that I have the chance to read more of his writing later on.
I don’t like how some things were left unresolved, but that was fine. All in all, three stars. It was a little boring for me, but I’m glad that I got to learn some basic bridge concepts. I would definitely recommend this story to people who love bridge or just accept the challenge that Louis Sachar sets before you in this book. A fun story, just not really my thing.
pg count for the hardback: 336
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