Author: Walter Tevis
Genre: Literary Fiction
Trigger Warnings: Drug abuse, suicide, alcoholism
After Beth Harmon loses her parents in a car crash, she is sent to an orphanage where she discovers her passion and talent for chess at the age of eight. But due to a mishap she is forced to stop playing the game. At the age of 13, when she gets adopted she once again starts playing chess at tournaments and immediately ranks up while dealing with drug addiction. Her sole ambition is to become a Grandmaster and play against (and beat) Russian players. (Goodreads)
What I Liked About the Book
Everyone knows the Queen’s Gambit Netflix series became a huge hit in 2020. But I did not watch the series and recently found out that it is actually a book. Needless to say, I finally get why the show was such a massive hit.
Apart from the amazing direction of the show, the plot and the way the book is written is extremely gripping. For someone who has ABSOLUTELY no idea about chess, I expected not to enjoy this book but once I got into it, I could hardly keep it down. The chess games played by Beth are described in such amazing details that you could practically visualize everything. Added to that, the paragraphs about Beth’s thoughts and feelings during a game are enough to give you an adrenaline rush.
The story also puts a strong emphasis on hard work, passion and determination. It’s not a direct win for Beth always. She struggles and fails and picks herself up and does it all again.
The writing is quite simple and to the point. There is no unnecessary details or description and gives a strong character development for Beth Harmon and other characters as well.
Even though the story’s main focus point is chess, we also get to see Beth’s relationship with her friends at the orphan, her step mother and the people she meets during the tournaments. The author doesn’t shy away from topics such as racism, drug abuse, alcoholism, abandonment and grief in the story.
What I Disliked About the Book
While the book as a whole was wonderful, there were definitely some parts in between which became tiring and slow. But apart from that, I have no complaints with this book.
Recommended for anyone who:
- wants a short and easy read
- is looking for a unique plotline
- wants a book about passion, determination, failure and hard work
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