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Cider House Rules, The by John Irving

Cider House Rules, The (1985)

by John Irving

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8,768104345 (4.08)222
Title:Cider House Rules, The
Authors:John Irving
Info:Random House Inc (Paperback)
Collections:Your library
Tags:fictie, ethische vragen, weeshuis

Work details

The Cider House Rules by John Irving (1985)

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English (95)  Finnish (2)  Dutch (2)  Lithuanian (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
“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 |
For me, "The Cider House Rules" was a story about how we have rules that keep our worlds in order and how we meaningfully adjust them. What do we do when we disagree with the rules by which we are asked to live? How do we determine where the delusion lies, in self or the larger voices surrounding us? What provides meaning and purpose to life, and how do we become the hero of our own lives? These and many other universal questions swirl inside this story that raises them within the context of unwanted pregnancies.

Quotes I like:

On lying and creating stories to attempt control of life:
"When an orphan is depressed," wrote Wilbur Larch, "he is attracted to telling lies. A lie is at least a vigorous enterprise, it keeps you on your toes by making you suddenly responsible for what happens because of it. You must be alert to lie, and stay alert to keep your lie a secret. Orphans are not the masters of their fates; they are the last to believe you if you tell them that other people are also not in charge of theirs. When you lie, it makes you feel in charge of your life. Telling lies is very seductive to orphans. I know," Dr. Larch wrote. "I know because I tell them, too. I love to lie. When you lie, you feel as if you have cheated fate--your own, and everybody else's." (p324)

On questioning the role of rules in society and our personal lives:
"And what were the rules at St. Cloud's? What were Larch's rules? Which rules did Dr. Larch observe, which ones did he break, or replace--and with what confidence?” (p363)

On the role of rules in society and the need to respond in an imperfect world of Now:
"Once the state starts providing, it feels free to hand out the rules, too!" Larch blurted hastily.
..."In a better world..." she began patiently.
"No, not in a better world!" he cried. "In this one--in this world. I take this world as a given. Talk to me about this world!" ...
"Oh, I can't always be right," Larch said tiredly.
"Yes, I know," Nurse Caroline said sympathetically. "It's because even a good man can't always be right that we need a society, that we need certain rules--call them priorities, if you prefer," she said. ...
Always in the background of his mind, there was a newborn baby crying... And they were not crying to be born, he knew; they were crying because they were born." (p452)

On meaning and purpose in life:
“At times, he admitted, he had been very happy in the apple business. He knew what Larch would have told him: that his happiness was not the point, or that it wasn't as important as his usefulness.” (p536)

“On his bedside table, between the reading lamp and the telephone, was his battered copy of David Copperfield. Homer didn't have to open the book to know how the story began. "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show," he recited from memory.” (p537)

On loving others:
“And the thing about love," Wally said to Angel, "is that you can’t force anyone. It’s natural to want someone you love to do what you want, or what you think would be good for them, but you have to let everything happen to them. You can’t interfere with people you love any more than you’re supposed interfere with people you don’t even know. And that’s hard,” he added, “because you often feel like interfering - you want to be the one who makes the plans.
“It’s hard to want to protect someone else, and not be able to,” Angel pointed out.
“You can’t protect people, kiddo,” Wally said. “All you can do is love them.” (p544) ( )
  lgaikwad | Sep 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (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
First words
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.

(summary from another edition)

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