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The Cider House Rules Mass Market Paperback – Jan 9 1994
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"Superb in scope and originality, a novel as good as one could hope to find from any author, anywhere, anytime. Engrossing, moving, thoroughly satisfying."
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
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
I would recommend this book for:
- anyone willing to take their time with a great book that slowly (and excellently) advances the story
- anyone who is open-minded about the issue of abortion or at least willing to read about the topic
I would NOT recommend this book for:
- anyone who wants a quick, lite, or formulaic read
- anyone who will be offended or disgusted by abortion or the graphic details of obstetrical procedure
The only thing that keeps me from giving Cider House 5 stars is my disappointment with Homer Wells as an adult. As a child, Homer seems fated to have some kind of terrible destiny (like Owen Meany) but when it comes down to it, Homer never truly made a decision on his own until the end of the book. His life as a youth is orchestrated by the opposing forces of Dr. Larch (my favorite person in the book) and Melony ... his love for Candy controls the next 15 ... and finally it is his decision to help Rose Rose that gets him back to St. Cloud's ... but even then it's under a fake name, and again even this is largely instigated by the guilt that Melony makes him feel. Homer never escapes his destiny as an orphan who seems largely deprived on any free will of his own. He's the "Right" Man ... the guy who agrees with everyone without being committal.
Overall Cider House is a very good book ... but I couldn't help but think that a slightly stronger main character would've made the story more cohesive. Homer struggles with the question of whether he is the hero of his own life ... I would without hesitation say no: it is Dr. Larch. Still, a good book, but probably not Irving's best.
Most recent customer reviews
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!Published on Jan. 17 2014 by Avid reader
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... Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2005 by J.Jones
Being familiar with three John Irving Novels, I see three common themes: sex, swearing, (and a character with a ) speech impediment. Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by JMack
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. Read morePublished on July 9 2004 by Cindy Andrews
The book is great at raising the social issues in a context that makes sense - unwanted pregnancies, ethics of abortion or abandonment of newborns, etc. Read morePublished on June 30 2004 by Karen Abraham
Since the theme of this book is abortion, let's get that out of the way first. Now, I personally have somewhat conflicted opinions on this issue so I'm not a fanatic on either... Read morePublished on June 4 2004 by B. M. White
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 21 2004 by Gail Cooke
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... Read more
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. Read morePublished on Dec 26 2003 by Barry J. Coe