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The Cider House Rules by John Irving

The Cider House Rules (1985)

by John Irving

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,820105341 (4.08)227
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» See also 227 mentions

English (96)  Finnish (2)  Dutch (2)  Lithuanian (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (105)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
The Cider House Rules is the tale of Dr. Wilbur Larch, his orphanage that also serves as an underground abortion clinic, and Homer Wells, the orphan that failed to find a home. I loved Dr. Larch's character, equally committed to housing and finding good homes for orphans as he is to offering mothers a safe place to go for the less legal alternative. He's a little rough around the edges but with a heart of gold. The orphanage at St. Cloud's is populated by a totally rich cast of characters from the nurses that assist the doctor to the orphans themselves to the couple that comes seeking an abortion that is the family that will finally "adopt" Homer. This book, to me, read a little like Dickens, with numerous well-drawn characters fanning out in all directions. As in my experience with Dickens, The Cider House Rules gets a little slow in the middle while Irving is lining up his characters just right for the final denouement, but as with Dickens, the payoff is perfectly executed and beautifully satisfying. ( )
  yourotherleft | Feb 7, 2015 |
“Life is an X-rated soap opera” (p. 470 in the Ballantine Books, © 1978 edition of The World According to Garp).

True enough. Unfortunately, The Cider House Rules is more of “soap” than of “X.” I wish I could be more positive about it. I can’t. It didn’t live up to my expectations after having read The World According to Garp. In fact, it fell far short.

The major premise of the story (the management of an orphanage) is extremely interesting. All of the characters in this story are also well drawn and appropriately sympathetic (or unsympathetic, as the case might warrant). One certainly can’t fault Irving’s story for that.

Where then do I find fault? The story is too neat…too cute…to nicely wrapped up in something like a Hollywood (albeit, East Coast) ending. At the same time, I find much of the author’s attempts at humor to be downright adolescent. They might well appeal to many adolescent or late-to-bloom adult readers. They didn’t appeal to me. Instead, I found myself silently appealing to Irving in my subway readings to and from work: “Stop it, John! You know better than to do this.”

All of the above notwithstanding, if a reader wants to get a better understanding of what the real Maine is all about—and not the glittery seacoast that wealthy Bostonians and New Yorkers invade every summer, only to abandon it come Labor Day—this is a most worthwhile read. The late-spring, summer and fall seasons in New England are one thing—as any Hallmark calendar will make fantastically and nostalgically clear. You may notice, however, that not a single one of those Hallmark calendars includes pictures of people. There’s a good reason for the omission.

John Irving’s Cider House Rules may help to make clear why Maine is often called ‘the Mississippi of the North.’

Brooklyn, NY

( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
Yep. This is one of my few 5 Star books. When Irving gets it right it is stunning. It was like gazing into a complex impressionist painting. There are so many layers and so much beauty. I recommend reading this book if you want more than the usual "best seller" that is here today and gone tomorrow. This will stay with you. ( )
  elizabeth.b.bevins | Nov 4, 2014 |
Irving's Cider House Rules is an intelligent and entertaining story, balancing controversy against good will, and debate against simple storytelling. Irving's style is straightforward, and his characters are so engaging and so real that the story ends up being a superb read--reading it is like taking a step into another world, one which feels very real, if even too real at times.

Absolutely recommended. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Oct 20, 2014 |
At times this book was very, very good. At times it wasn't. It was very different from the movie, which I saw first. Normally a book is much better than the movie so that's why I like to read the book last. Actually, the movie was a lot better than the book, which is very unusual for me to say. Parts of the book just weren't as believable. ( )
  shesinplainview | Oct 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
For ''The Cider House Rules'' has greater force and integrity than either of its two immediate predecessors. It's funny and absorbing, and it makes clever use of the plot's seeming predictability.

» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Irving, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last." ~ charlotte bronte (1847)
"For practical purposes abortion may be defined as the interruption of gestation before viability of the child." ~ h.j. boldt, m.d. (1906)
For David Calicchio
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In the hospital of the orphanage--the boys' division at St Cloud's, Maine--two nurses were in charge of naming the new babies and checking that their little penises were healing from the obligatory circumcision.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345387651, Mass Market Paperback)

"AN OLD-FASHIONED, BIG-HEARTED NOVEL . . . with its epic yearning caught in the 19th century, somewhere between Trollope and Twain . . . The rich detail makes for vintage Irving."
--The Boston Sunday Globe

"The Cider House Rules is filled with people to love and to feel for. . . . The characters in John Irving's novel break all the rules, and yet they remain noble and free-spirited. Victims of tragedy, violence, and injustice, their lives seem more interesting and full of thought-provoking dilemmas than the lives of many real people."
--The Houston Post

"John Irving's sixth and best novel . . . He is among the very best storytellers at work today. At the base of Irving's own moral concerns is a rare and lasting regard for human kindness."
--The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Entertaining and affecting . . . John Irving is the most relentlessly inventive writer around. He proliferates colorful incidents and crotchets of character. . . . A truly astounding amount of artistry and ingenuity."
--The San Diego Union

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:10 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch--obstetrician and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Clouds. It is also the story of his favorite orphan, Homer, who is never adopted.

» see all 8 descriptions

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