Contest Book #14
Seventeen-year-old Alton Richards, the protagonist of Louis Sachar's novel The Cardturner, is furious when his parents insist he spend the summer working for his wealthy great-uncle Lester. Lester is blind, testy, and a master bridge player, so Alton foresees a long, dull summer spent driving his uncle to his club and helping him play the world's most boring card game. But as Alton begins to understand the rules of bridge, his interest in the game—and his uncle's unexpectedly colorful past—deepens.
Bridge is not exactly a hot-button topic for today's youth, so we're giving Louis Sachar full props for guts. It's possible to read The Cardturner without delving into the intricacies of bridge, and the book features several conventional teen-lit subplots (romance, family conflict, etc.). However, Sachar makes no secret of the fact that he wrote this book to encourage a new generation of bridge players, and—remarkably—his novel-length advertisement for the game might even work. We're pretty certain the only surefire way to revive bridge is to release a version for the PS3 that somehow incorporates semi-automatic weapons, but Sachar's novel makes it sound like a fascinatingly complex and challenging game—even for a generation accustomed to having their entertainment enhanced by every imaginable bell and whistle.
[Review based on a publisher-provided copy.]