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Cider With Rosie (The Autobiographical Trilogy #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  6,219 Ratings  ·  500 Reviews
At all times wonderfully evocative and poignant, Cider With Rosie is 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 c
Paperback, 231 pages
Published March 11th 2000 by Penguin Classics (first published 1959)
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Vanessa Wu
I asked my boyfriend if he had ever been physically aroused by a work of fiction while reading on a bus or train.

"Oh, many a time," he said.

"Really? Did you get an erection?"

"Yes, of course. Isn't that what you meant? It doesn't happen so much now," he said.

"Because you are cynical and you've seen it all before?"

"Partly that," he concurred. "But also because my blood is more sluggish and I have lost the vigour of youth."

"When was the last time you got an erection while reading in a public place?
Jun 08, 2016 Fabian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you are transported directly into the childhood of the writer, you know this is a good biography. When you smell the very air, when you feel that what the characters are smiling about is a scene of intense everyday hilarity, and when you want to visit THERE* (for just a second, just for the sake of both reader and writer, just for the sake of experience), well, then you know you are dealing with a superlative type of novel, which weaves truth with literature at an almost-mythical level.

Sep 21, 2008 Milica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before I started reading this book, I was warned that it is extremely boring, or as my colleague put it '200 pages of absolutely nothing going on, that it's a complete waste of paper and time as well.
But after I'd read a few pages, I quickly realized that I was enjoying the book immensely. I love the way he describes simple, everyday things, feelings, smells in a way that instantly makes you feel nostalgic about your childhood, that makes you wish to go out of town and settle in the countryside.

This is not merely a biography or description of a special time and place (the Cotswolds the years after the First World War), it is prose poetry. It is the lyrical fashion in which it is written that is its outstanding element. The story unfolds not chronologically but rather by theme. There is a chapter on summer and winter. A chapter on festivals. A chapter on school. A chapter on sexual awakening. A chapter entitled "The Kitchen" which is the center of a home, and here we hear of his family,
Jun 06, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of "A Month in the Country"
Shelves: lapl, 1001-bymr
If anything, I would buy this book for the sole purpose of flipping it randomly to any page to be confronted by Laurie Lee's unforgettable mastery of descriptive detail. He belongs to a talented class of writers, which includes John Muir, who have the ability to capture nature in writing and speak to the reader in an inclusive and intimate manner. Everything in this autobiography is written with such a full, fresh, and loving fondness making it impossible not to like the obscure village of Slad, ...more
Kevin Ansbro
Mar 31, 2016 Kevin Ansbro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Gerald Durrell, who've not read anything by Laurie Lee.

There was a reassuring prevalence of Penguin books, resplendent in their orange cummerbunds, as I rummaged through a squished cardboard box in my attic.
Then, delightfully, I spied a book that triggered a wave of nostalgia:
"Cider With Bloody Rosie." I gasped (um, mine wasn't a version with 'bloody' in the title, just so you know).
"Well, I never! Cider With Bloody Rosie." (You see, I repeated the word 'bloody' yet again, such was my cock-a-hoopedness).

Gosh! I had previously read this a gazillion
Magrat Ajostiernos
Una gozada de principio a fin :3
Se va directo a mis preferidos!!!
Aug 26, 2012 Ellie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, his prose is great. We all agree on that. He almost gives the reader synesthesia from his descriptions. It's excellent.

HOWEVER. I was sickened by some of the things I've read both in the book and surrounding it. I have searched through many other reviews, and all I've really found is "this book is so great because" or "Laurie Lee is the best author because he captures England at it's finest" blah blah blah. He kind of does, but then again, it's nauseatingly rose-tinted, and you can basicall
When Laurie Lee was three years old his family moved to a small Cotswold village. The family of eight had been abandoned by Laurie's father although he still sent them money. His mother was loving, but a bit flighty. The book is an account of village life, where the people lived close to the land, during the decade after World War I. His mother cooked over a wood fire, and water was hand pumped. The children attended a two room schoolhouse. The family enjoyed the simple things in life, but life ...more
Jun 14, 2008 Cecily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quintessential coming of age story. It tells of Laurie Lee’s childhood in Gloucestershire, just after WW1. But it is not only Lee’s coming of age, it is also that of the village, as the rural backwater changes rapidly, losing many of its traditional village ways and gaining things such as motor vehicles.

The first time I read it, I was quite young and slightly confused as it was the first book I read that was not really chronological, but instead told the story grouped by overlapping themes, su
Jun 29, 2016 Irene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a highly atmospheric lyrically written memoire of a childhood in rural England in the 1920s. One of seven children raised by a slightly eccentric mother in relative poverty, this could have been a story of physical and psychic deprivation. Rather, the author leaves the reader nostalgic for a simpler, more contented time.
I read this book a great many years ago and remembered it with affection. I found it to be just as delightful the second time around. Lee's writing is lyrical and reminiscent of Dylan Thomas in many places. He recalls a way of life in his Cotswold village which has gone forever, and a family of full and half siblings revolving around their loving, disorganised mother.

Very beautiful, and now of course I want to read his other books again.
Beth Bonini
This memoir is more poetry than prose at times, and I think you need to be in the right mood for its lush charms. I've started it several times over the years and it didn't quite 'take' -- and then, suddenly it was just the right book and I was completely entranced by it. If you read to know how another person's experience feels, this is a wonderful book. If you are emotionally drawn to the English countryside, if you hanker after reminiscences from a by-gone era, then this is absolutely the rig ...more
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 rea ...more
Frank Callaghan
Aug 15, 2012 Frank Callaghan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was probably the first paperback I properly read. Back in the early 1960s, at school, I found a copy. I had never been a reader of books, despite being at Grammar School and good at English, I was not a reader, unless it was comics or books of facts. But I was good at art, and I LOVED the cover. The scratchy pen and ink illustration on the cover of the original publication was brilliant, and encouraged me to open the pages and read. I was transfixed. The artist bit of me was lulled by the p ...more
Mar 23, 2017 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this book.

Certainly, Lee does not sentimentalise his childhood. Though the language is often strikingly beautiful there is darkness in his portrayal of both the village people and the poverty of his upbringing. However, I think that the total message is that the awful conditions can--in a strange way--be a kind of inspiration for the spirit.

I was re-reading an old 1961 edition which has an extended "Afterword" by J.B. Priestley. You might be interested in one of his insights
3.5 stars - I thought I would adore this memoir, and parts of it were enthralling. But some chapters I skimmed through because they bored me. I can't pinpoint what made those particular parts less interesting to me, but it was a small enough issue that I will read the second book of the trilogy at some point. I liked Laurie and his tales better once he got a little older, so the second half of the book was best for me. I loved his description of starting school since it so accurately showed the ...more
Nov 28, 2016 Nicola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful memoir about a post WWI childhood spent in an old English cottage in often appalling conditions. Laurie Lee shows the enchantment but also the cold reality of the cold winters and lack of money. Growing up with a single mother and ever-present poverty, hunger and sickness, his childhood was no picnic. Still, under Laurie Lee's prose the humble cottage comes alive and almost assumes the role of another person. The sights, sounds and smells pour forth from the pages and they kept me en ...more
Sep 15, 2011 Melee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure many of you goodreaders experience this, but whilst reading a book I'm mentally giving it stars before I'm done. (It's a reflex now, sadly.) While I was reading Cider With Rosie, my mental star level fluctuated between 3 and 5 stars, and I thought I would end up giving it 4; but as I am thinking about it now, about 5 hours after finishing, I don't feel compelled to give it much more than 3.

It took a while for me to get into the book. As with most books of this type, there's no cohesive
Claire McAlpine
A somewhat nostalgic memoir of childhood in a Cotswold village, remembered from when the author is about 3 years old, surrounded by sisters and siblings, the father having long abandoned the family and leaving his housekeeper who became his wife to raise the children of his first marriage and the four he gave her.

Rather than a tale of struggle and poverty, in Laurie Lee's hands, it comes across as a bundle of memories and anecdotes that celebrate village life, sibling love, old lady madness and
Cider with Rosie is a childhood/youth memoir by Laurie Lee. Lee grew up in a small village in Gloucestershire around the time of the end of the Great War. He was born into a family with many children and was raised by his mother and older sisters (his father stayed in London after the war and did not return).
What sets Cider with Rosie apart from other (childhood) memoirs is the way it is structured: instead of using a chronological order, Laurie Lee groups his memories into thematic chapters. Th
Apr 15, 2015 Griselda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More an extended poem than a piece of prose, this book is best read at a single sitting. There seems to be no natural place to pause as it flows inexorably, like the seasons it describes, from its beginning to its end. Rich in imagery, but with an underlying and gentle teasing by the author of his younger self, this book is as valuable as a piece of English rural social history as it is as a volume of autobiography.
Jan 30, 2016 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cider with Rosie is the first of three memoirs that Laurie Lee wrote about his life, this first book the account of his childhood and adolescence in Gloucestershire in the early twentieth century. Born to the second wife of his absent father, his mother, brothers and half-sisters move to their cottage in Slad village in the final summer of the First World War when Laurie or Loll as he is frequently called is just three years old.

“I was set down from the carrier’s cart at the age of three; and t
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Laurie Lee grew up in a rural part of England during the
time just after the Great War. His father abandoned his mother with
eight children to raise. Lee was almost always hungry and cold. But
life never seemed hard; somehow it seemed joyous and delightful.

I was especially taken with the chapter about the devilments children
and young people got into during Lee's time. Back in Lee's day, as
today, terrible things happened. But somehow the village and its
people just seemed to deal with them, not makin
May 26, 2010 Nicola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never have I read such flowery prose and enjoyed it so immensely. The rich texture of this book is far more important that its plot or, even, its delightful characters. It recreates an atmosphere of a messy, beautiful, tragic, hilarious, fully-lived childhood, with all its misunderstandings and secret understandings. For some reason, the chapter on the feuding grandmothers cracked me up to no end. I also felt myself becoming increasingly more uncomfortable towards the end, but this fascinates me ...more
Lee talks about growing up in the Cotswolds in the early 20th century, in a time when rural life hadn't caught up with the technology of the time. Idyllic in some respects but also harsh to be poor and without a father. His writing style is quite poetic and somewhat fanciful but it's definitely a glimpse into another time and life.
Steve Haywood
May 12, 2014 Steve Haywood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up a few months ago, an old 1970's penguin paperback edition, and it has sat on a bookshelf ever since, but a couple of weeks ago I felt like a change and so picked it up. I knew it was non-fiction, a sort of autobiography-memoir and considered a classic but that was about it. Reading the couple of paragraphs in the front of the book I learned that it was a standard text for American high schools, at least in the 70's. My own experience of school texts didn't bode well, but I eager ...more
Jul 21, 2013 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Never to be forgotten, that first long secret drink of golden fire,juice of these valleys and of that time,wine of wild orchards,of russet summer,of plump red apples,and Rosie's burning cheeks.Never to be forgotten, or ever tasted agin........."

Firstly let me admit that I'm a fan of history and not just battles, Kings, Queens, dates etc but socila history as well. This is a book of a slice social history.We see a life set around the family kitchen, early school years,family and friends but in p
Jun 09, 2012 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cider With Rosie, first published in 1959, is Laurie Lee’s account of a childhood spent in Gloucestershire, England. It is quite common for elderly folk to write memoirs of the past, because times change so rapidly, and there is so much that people want to record for posterity. What is amazing about this book is that it has sold millions of copies. What is it about a retelling of an ordinary rural childhood that interests so many?

Cider With Rosie is exquisitely written. The book is rich and des
Emily May
Dec 09, 2010 Emily May rated it liked it
This is not a fast-paced adventure book but it does create a beautiful picture of quiet country lanes, honeysuckle on the breeze and both the wonders and tragedies of living so far out in a world controlled solely by the forces of nature.
It's a lovely portrait of childhood innocence and growing up, after reading it I got a desperate urge to visit the Cotswolds. The world of childhood is a very small bubble and this takes that alongside the equally small world in which this novel is set and it cr
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Laurence Edward Alan "Laurie" Lee, MBE, was an English poet, novelist, and screenwriter. His most famous work was an autobiographical trilogy which consisted of Cider with Rosie (1959), As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (1969) and A Moment of War (1991). While the first volume famously recounts his childhood in the idyllic Slad Valley, the second deals with his leaving home for London and his ...more
More about Laurie Lee...

Other Books in the Series

The Autobiographical Trilogy (3 books)
  • As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
  • A Moment Of War

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“Bees blew like cake-crumbs through the golden air, white butterflies like sugared wafers, and when it wasn't raining a diamond dust took over which veiled and yet magnified all things” 23 likes
“She was too honest, too natural for this frightened man; too remote from his tidy laws. She was, after all, a country girl; disordered, hysterical, loving. She was muddled and mischievous as a chimney-jackdaw, she made her nest of rags and jewels, was happy in the sunlight, squawked loudly at danger, pried and was insatiably curious, forgot when to eat or ate all day, and sang when sunsets were red.” 10 likes
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