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The Cider House Rules [Mass Market Paperback]

John Irving
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (316 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 9 1994
"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

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Product Description


"Superb in scope and originality, a novel as good as one could hope to find from any author, anywhere, anytime. Engrossing, moving, thoroughly satisfying."
--Joseph Heller

From the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

"The Cider House Rules was the first John Irving book I read.  I had no idea of the subject matter and, in a matter of a few pages I was entranced by the story.  The characters were so human and humane; what a moving argument for the right of a woman to choose.  I recently read Widow for a Year and was loved it as well."

-- Ruth Ross
    Art Director, The Ballantine Publishing Group

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
In the hospital of the orphanage-the boy's 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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cider House Rules June 26 2004
Format:Audio Cassette
A captivating story about life in the 1920's-1930's told in a powerful and brilliantly written fictional novel about an orphan named Homer Wells and the St. Cloud orphanage. Dr. Wilbur Larch, who is an obstetrician on staff at St. Cloud's, is an ether addict who performs abortions at the orphanage secretly. He is known to say, "women come here to have an orphan or an abortion".
The story, though simple, is thought provoking. It contains many underlying themes about human nature, social injustices and the complexities of life. Written to be shocking and graphic, Irving uses the characters to express each theme as he tells the story. One such theme is "we all break the rules"... Another theme is "the realities of life can influence you to make a practical rather than a moral decision"... and this is what happens to Homer Wells...
A fascinating book! Highly recommend!
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5.0 out of 5 stars what have i been missing? Jan. 17 2014
By J Hugi
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
for what ever reason I never before read a John Irving novel. now I am not likely to miss one! there is a lot to catch up on!
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4.0 out of 5 stars This book rules! Feb. 11 2005
By J.Jones
I revisited 'The Cider House Rules' recently, just before picking up another of John Irving's earlier novels, and I again recalled before I reached page 25 what it was about Irving and this novel that made me fall in love with his writing. 'The Cider House Rules' is an epic, Dickensian story, a didactic old-fashioned tale of love and loss that speaks to both the most basic human dilemmas and contentious contemporary subjects. Irving writes with an absurdist aplomb that causes me to find myself laughing when I would never expect to, and cry soon thereafter; his character Homer Wells is a delight, winsome and true. 'The Cider House Rules' is an exquisite novel, and one of the greatest achievements in American letters. If you enjoyed books such as McCrae's "Children's Corner" or Wolfe's "A Man in Full," then you'll like this one as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best novels ever!! July 10 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Just loved Cider House, savored every word and felt the characters were alive. So, so sad to finish it. Irving is a fabulous storyteller, makes you laugh and cry. I have read hundreds if not thousands of books and this is in my top 20.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
This review is based on the paperback version 1985

The movie debut a few years back was great, excellent actors represented the characters, cinematography and technical details were solid.
The book is a lot more involved, with more in-depth events in the story that are left out of the movie.
However, readers are missing out on a lot of John Irving's writing talent if they fail to read the book. A reader grows to know Irving's players in a way not many authors create and allow the reader to absorb each character -- some readers put the book in a negative light by stating that the characters and issues are unrealistic... Whoa! That is definitely NOT the case. The issues existed then as they exist now and are in our sight always.
The setting is State of Maine, an orphanage named St. Cloud's -- Dr. Wilbur Larch, orphan Homer Wells, and the relationship of their bonding. All characters deserve and are allowed compassion enhanced with understanding. Sub-plots are woven gracefully into the story assisting the main essence of the theme. John Irving gives credence to issues in The Cider House Rules: abortion, friendship, family, love, loyalty, humor to laugh to, and tears to cry with. John Irving has ecome one of my top ten favorite authors. John Irving was born in Exeter, NH, resides in NY, and has also authored "Hotel New Hampshire" & "The World According to Garp"... and more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MAGICAL READING Feb. 21 2004
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Re-released to coincide with the Miramax film version of Irving's popular book, The Cider House Rules has lost none of its power to haunt.
As the world now knows Irving is both an artistic and ingenious writer as he displays in this story set some years ago in St. Cloud, a sparsely populated Maine town. At bare bones it is the life of Wilbur Leach, founder and director of an orphanage. The doctor performs abortions.
It is also the story of Homer Wells, an orphan who is never adopted.
Treat yourself again to the mesmerizing magic of John Irving.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Irving Rules Jan. 8 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Once again, John Irving has scored with an intriguing and heartfelt tale of love and family.
The Cider House Rules brings together the notion that family is borne of those who love us and those who accept us as we are. Homer Wells is a character of almost accidental existence--as an orphan, he stands out to those in the orphanage as different. And Homer is different. His life and his passions emerge as he grows into an independent being. Homer is the epitome of every person who's ever felt rejection. John Irving takes great care in weaving an intricate plot and bringing passion and reality into a bittersweet conclusion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it Dec 27 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I just loved this big long book. I couldn't wait to return to it. He presents both sides of very difficult topics like abortion. I am looking forward to reading another Irving book.
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