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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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9,607122301 (4.07)263
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» See also 263 mentions

English (112)  Dutch (2)  Finnish (2)  German (2)  Lithuanian (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  All (122)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
The first of my summer rereads.
I don't remember this being a book I disliked ( read in high school) , but I don't remember it being one of my favorite Irvings either. I sure couldn't put it down, but am not more sure what I thought of it this time. He describes situations and emotions beautifully , but I felt that there was too much (and also not enough) going on with the plot. There are some elements of the whimsical which don't seem to jive, or seem a little too heavy handed. But it is certainly one I will think about for some time, and likely even read again in another ten years. ( )
  Abbey_Harlow | Oct 5, 2017 |
John Irving's books always abound with memorable characters. In Cider House Rules, it is Dr Wilbur Larch and Homer Wells. Both have different views towards abortion but their guiding principle was the same - to do the right thing. It just goes to show how doing the right thing can mean different things to different people because the perspective is different. ( )
  siok | Sep 10, 2017 |
The typically verbose Mr. Irving does not fail to deliver on his pro-abortion/socialist tale about Homer Wells, an orphan at St. Cloud's Orphanage in early twentieth century Maine. Through 560 some odd page – and with his agenda on his sleeve – Mr. Irving spins an engaging, believable story that presents a strong case for universal abortions (i. e. they should be legal and the state should pay for them) along with a somewhat balanced but tepid counterpoint (i. e. it's a human life and it has a soul). That being said, it is nonetheless pro-abortion scree from start to finish. Contraception is mentioned, of course, but seemingly in passing. Still, it’s an engaging, well-crafted story, and no small trick there. Had it been otherwise, it would have found its way back to the library in a heartbeat.

Last note: The book is rife with his irritating dialogue attribution and sexual references, ranging from oral sex to copulation and masturbation to beastiality. Then too there’s the obligatory character who decides to become – wait for it! – a novelist but one who hasn’t yet become world famous. Pity! All we would have needed to complete the “Irving cycle” would be to have one of them be a wrestler with a pet bear. Still, four stars. ( )
  Renzomalo | Jun 19, 2017 |
When my father asked me what I thought of this book, he first told me I appeared to be reading it as some kind of pittance, which may not be entirely untrue. When I answered, I said, "If this book was my only foray into the world, the only place from which I could see beyond myself, I would assume that the world was populated by horrible people who could only do wrong." No, this isn't an opinion on the subject of the book, abortion, but rather the way almost every character treated the others, with the vast exception of Wally, who (let's face it) really got dealt a raw hand.

On the subject of abortion, at first I found it hard to understand what Irving's intent was: was he for abortion or against it? I think his position can be best summed up by Homer's opinion, that he thinks they (abortions) should be legal, but he would not perform them...which changes by the end of the book. Irving himself calls the book "didactic," leading me to a new assumption about didacticism in literature, mainly that didactic works function as a mirror: the reader only sees what they believe and nothing else. Therefore, if Irving's point was to sway the reader, I think this failed. If it was to entertain, the didactic message at times got in the way of the entertainment. However, if Irving was seeking to issue points and counterpoints for the same argument (both for and against abortion), thus opening up a dialogue and enticing readers to speak and share their opinions, he may have accomplished something. The Cider House Rules, if nothing else, is a conversation starter. ( )
1 vote beckyrenner | Dec 29, 2016 |
A beautiful book.
In this book, Irving tells the life histories of several people. Larch, his colleagues and all the others are being followed from the moment they appear in the book.

Homer is a central character, as is Larch. In their cooperation, their living together at S. Cloud's, their lives separated from each other when Homer moves to Ocean View.
Rules violating them and how to live with yourself and with others afterwards is in my opinion a central theme in this book.
Just like that one should never really say 'never'. Because there are always circumstances that make you make different choices than you've ever done so far. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Sep 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (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 (8 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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:38 -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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