Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Passion For Bridge

Some reviewers have said that The Cardturner by Louis Sachar is about bridge. I'm not a reviewer, of course, but I think it's about passion. It's about people feeling passionately about an...I guess we'd call it an interest...and pursuing it. A reader can understand a passion for bridge even if she doesn't understand bridge--or even like playing cards all that much unless she's doing it on a computer to avoid working. How many young readers will get it I cannot even begin to guess. It's possible that teenagers who recall or are still experiencing passions for Legos, comic books, television shows, or computer games will have no trouble at all understanding what young Alton and his great uncle Trapp are experiencing at the bridge table.

In case they don't, though, Sachar has brought in some more traditional modern kid story lines. You have your somewhat slacker adolescent male forced to spend part of his summer with a much older, outside-the-box character (a set-up I've used myself), a mysterious foiled romance from long in the past (I'm toying with that one now), and a little additonal romance for the young 'uns. Oh, and you also have a little mystical stuff going on, though I wouldn't go so far as to call it magical realism.

You might say all this additional stuff is a safety net to keep the readers who aren't all that into the passion required to play bridge on a competitive level.

I liked The Cardturner, myself, though I did think the greedy parents were over the top. In fact, I indulged in a game of computer hearts today after finishing the book, and I'd thought I'd broken myself of that a few weeks ago.

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