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Cider with Rosie (1959)

by Laurie Lee

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Laurie Lee's Autobiographies (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,455504,907 (3.89)1 / 286
At all times wonderfully evocative and poignant,Cider With Rosieis a charming memoir of Laurie Lee's childhood in a remote Cotswold village, a world that is tangibly real and yet reminiscent of a now distant past. In this idyllic pastoral setting, unencumbered by the callous father who so quickly abandoned his family responsibilities, Laurie's adoring mother becomes the centre of his world as she struggles to raise a growing family against the backdrop of the Great War. The sophisticated adult author's retrospective commentary on events is endearingly juxtaposed with that of the innocent, spotty youth, permanently prone to tears and self-absorption. Rosie's identity from the novelCider with Rosiewas kept secret for 25 years. She was Rose Buckland, Lee's cousin by marriage. From the Paperback edition.… (more)
  1. 00
    Every Day Was Summer by Oliver Wynne Hughes (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both books look back a both happy and sad times growing up in small villages in the UK.
  2. 00
    Precious Bane by Mary Webb (KayCliff)
  3. 00
    A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Very similar, poetic writing style that tries to convey memories of childhood in rural Britain through an imaginative child's eyes.
  4. 00
    The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena (_eskarina)
    _eskarina: Although different in many aspects, apples, memories and some strange and beautiful melancholia make these books similar.
  5. 01
    Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (Michael.Rimmer)
  6. 01
    On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin (PilgrimJess)
    PilgrimJess: Another tale of country life but one set in Wales this time.
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» See also 286 mentions

English (48)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
A true glimpse into an English rural life, which now seems as distant as the days of the Romans.

I was born and have lived most of my life in the country on the edge of the Forest of Dean, separated from the Cotswolds by the Severn and by the way of life of the inhabitants - mostly mining, when I was a boy. The last national pit closed in 1965, link below. Hard to believe that in the early 1960's, the price of a cottage was around £150, virtually no one had a telephone in their house and cars were for the well-off only

The past is a foreign country, but you can't go there on a plane to experience it for yourself - reading a book like this is the nearest you will come to a journey in a time machine.

https://forest-of-dean.net/gallery/cinderford_2/pages/page_21.html ( )
  NickDuberley | Mar 5, 2022 |
There’s some beautiful writing in this (fictionalized) memoir. of a much slower, simpler time. Lee was a poet who knew how to perfectly convey a sense of time and especially place.
The author takes us through his poverty-stricken childhood and youth in rural England in the first decades of the last century. While the book is quite endearing, the author is a little too accepting of some very seamy, indeed criminal, behavior.
I did enjoy this one, but was disturbed by parts of it. ( )
  Matke | Feb 16, 2022 |
An enjoyable trip into another world! In Laurie Lee's own words "The last days of my childhood were also the last days of the village. I belonged to the generation which saw, by chance, the end of a thousand years' life." His life was governed by how far his legs or the legs of a horse could carry him in a day. Young people lived at home until they married and never thought to question the rules or traditions of village life. Not that life was boring and uneventful, anything but! The imagery is brilliant, the stories heartfelt and although brief in the retelling, the reason for the title of the book is youthfully honest! ( )
  Fliss88 | Nov 20, 2021 |
Warm, humorous, but not entirely rose-tinted, stories and recollections of the joys and hardships of life in rural Gloucestershire just after the First World War. This beautifully written memoir published in 1959 contains lyrical prose describing the experiences of a poor rural childhood with fresh eyed innocence and beguiling charm. There is crime, but Lee describes it as being dealt with within the village, without recourse to external official authority.

An example of the humour:
”What’s the matter, Loll? Didn’t he like it at school, then?”
“They didn’t give me a present!”
“Present? What present?”
“They said they’d give me a present.”
“Well, now, I’m sure they didn’t.”
“They did! They said: “You’re Laurie Lee, ain’t you? Well, just you sit there for the present.” I sat there all day but I never got it. I ain’t going back again!”


For the occasional elegaic asides:
The village in fact was like a deep-running cave still linked to its antic past, a cave whose shadows were cluttered with spirits and by laws still vaguely ancestral. This cave we inhabited looked backwards through chambers that led to our ghostly beginnings; and had not, as yet, been tidied up, or scrubbed clean by electric light, or suburbanised by a Victorian church, or papered by cinema screens.

Highly recommended.
( )
  CarltonC | Apr 20, 2021 |
It is 1917 and Laurie Lee and his family have just arrived in the village of Slad in Gloucestershire for the first time. Their new home is nestled deep in the valley, warmed by open fires and water is got from a pump outside the back door. It is two families that have come together, the elder children are from the first marriage; his father re-married when their mother died, and had a second family before going off to war. Even though his father is not there, it is a happy childhood. The war reaches its end and the village celebrates; the family lives in hope of seeing their father again now it has ended. It was not to be.

Soon he was old enough to attend school. It was split into two classes, infants and Big Ones, separated by a partition. It was here that he was brought together with all the characters of the village and started to forge friendships that would remain with him. The teachers were very different to those today, harsher and often brutal, they had little scope for tolerance, demanding only obedience. Life in a rural community was as much about the daily life and way that the seasons slowed moved on slowly. Singing carols around the village at Christmas starting with the squire, skating on the frozen pond, to the balmy days of summer spent playing games in the fields.

Its roots clutched the slope like a giant hand, holding the hill in place. Its trunk writhed with power, threw off veils of green dust, rose towering into the air, branched into a thousand shaded alleys, became a city for owls and squirrels. I had thought such trees to be as old as the earth, I never dreamed that a man could make them.

Lee is such a lyrical author, writing about this tiny piece of England that was forever changed after the First World War. It is not shown through rose tinted glasses; this was tough at times, death was a frequent occurrence in his family and with neighbours and other villagers. The hard work was tempered by simple pleasures. This glimpse of a time long past, of a place that he loved and made him the man he was to become when he walked away at the age of 19. Thoughly enjoyable book that is really too short. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurie Leeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grove, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, GwynethCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my brothers and sisters--the half and the whole
First words
I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three; and there with a sense of bewilderment and terror my life in the village began.
Quotations
The scullery was a mine of all the minerals of living. |Here I discovered water -- a very different element from the green crawling scum that stank in the garden tub. You could pump it in pure blue gulps out of the ground, you could swing on the pump handle and it came out sparkling like liquid sky. And it broke and ran and shone on the tiled floor, or quivered in a jug, or weighted your clothes with cold. You could drink it, draw with it, froth it with soap, swim beetles across it, or fly it in bubbles in the air. You could put your head in it, and open your eyes, and see the sides of the bucket buckle, and hear your caught breath roar, and work your mouth like a fish, and smell the lime from the ground. Substance of magic -- which you could tear or wear, confine or scatter, or send down holes, but never burn or break or destroy.
Mother had a touch with flowers. She could grow them anywhere, at any time, and they seemed to live longer for her. She grew them with rough, almost slap-dash love, but her hands possessed such an understanding of their needs they seemed to turn to her like another sun. She could snatch a dry root from field or hedgerow, dab it into the garden, give it a shake – and almost immediately it flowered. One felt she could grow roses from a stick or chair-leg, so remarkable was this gift.
Our terraced strip of garden was Mother's monument, and she worked it headstrong, without plan. She would never control or clear this ground, merely cherish whatever was there; and she was as impartial in her encouragement to all that grew as a spell of sweet sunny weather. She would force nothing, graft nothing, nor set things in rows; she welcomed self-seeders, let each have its head, and was the enemy of very few weeds. Consequently our garden was a sprouting jungle and never an inch was wasted. Syringa shot up, laburnum hung down, white roses smothered the apple tree, red flowering-currants (smelling sharply of foxes) spread entirely along one path; such a chaos of blossom as amazed the bees and bewildered the birds in the air. Potatoes and cabbages were planted at random among foxgloves, pansies, and pinks. Often some species would entirely capture the garden – forget-me-nots one year, hollyhocks the next, then a sheet of harvest poppies. Whatever it was, one let it grow. While Mother went creeping around the wilderness, pausing to tap some Odd bloom on the head, as indulgent, gracious, amiable and inquisitive as a queen at an orphanage.
Our mother was one of those obsessive collectors who spend all their time stuffing the crannies of their lives with a ballast of wayward objects. She collected anything that came to hand ... But in one thing – old china – Mother was a deliberate collector, and in this had an expert’s eye.
Old china to Mother was gambling, the bottle, illicit love, all stirred up together; the sensuality of touch and the ornament of a taste she was born to but could never afford. She hunted old china for miles, though she hadn’t the money to do so; haunted shops and sales with wistful passion, and by wheedling, guile, and occasional freaks of chance carried several fine pieces home.
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At all times wonderfully evocative and poignant,Cider With Rosieis a charming memoir of Laurie Lee's childhood in a remote Cotswold village, a world that is tangibly real and yet reminiscent of a now distant past. In this idyllic pastoral setting, unencumbered by the callous father who so quickly abandoned his family responsibilities, Laurie's adoring mother becomes the centre of his world as she struggles to raise a growing family against the backdrop of the Great War. The sophisticated adult author's retrospective commentary on events is endearingly juxtaposed with that of the innocent, spotty youth, permanently prone to tears and self-absorption. Rosie's identity from the novelCider with Rosiewas kept secret for 25 years. She was Rose Buckland, Lee's cousin by marriage. From the Paperback edition.

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