I've always struggled with Irving and Cider House Rules is no exception. It's not that Irving is a poor writer, no one can argue that. His characters...moreI've always struggled with Irving and Cider House Rules is no exception. It's not that Irving is a poor writer, no one can argue that. His characters are always fully-fleshed and alive on the page and each sentence drips with so much detail that you think you're going to get splinters when Homer and Melony are messing around in the abandoned millworker's dorm. I just think that most of the time when I put the book down I feel like I've read the equivalent of cotton candy: really pretty but not much substance as far as plot is concerned.
Another aspect of Irving's writing is his tendency to deliver sentences in blanket pronunciations (i.e.- "An orphan is a child, forever; an orphan detests change; an orphan hates to move; an orphan loves routine"). Far too often they seem like shallow blanket judgments used to convey a character trait but which instead seem to make Irving's characters seem like cardboard cutouts.
What Cider House Rules does provide is a very even-handed look at the pro-choice vs. "pro-life" debate. Told from the point of view of Dr. Wilbur Larch, who came into his own while working in Boston's South End, abortion seems like a necessary option to those who would seek one from any potential provider, no matter how unqualified or injurious. In Larch's view it's far better that women get an abortion from a trained and caring provider than a backroom butcher with no compassion for the patient.
Contrasting this view is the book's hero, Homer Wells, an orphan who has never experienced the results of a botched abortion and, from his perspective as an orphan, tends to view aborted fetuses as playmates that just never were. Through Homer and Larch's conflict regarding abortion, Irving manages to shine an insightful light on a subject which has pulled hard at America's edges for as long as the nation has been extant.
All in all, I think I enjoyed Cider House Rules. Sure, there were definitely moments when I wondered whether Irving was as lost in the story as Dr. Larch was lost in an ether dream, but the moment I closed the book for the final time it took hold of my imagination and left me thinking for quite a while after. By any measure that should be a sign of a good read.
Finally, I feel the need to mention the following quote which grabbed me early in the novel: "Dr. Larch pointed out that Melony had taken Jane Eyre with her; he accepted this as a hopeful sign- wherever Melony went, she would not be without guidance, she would not be without love, without faith; she had a good book with her. If only she'll keep reading it, and reading it, Larch thought."(less)
Yes. I, too, dreamed that I could stop reading fluff horror like this. I'm a binger at heart, though, and know that the best way to stop is to dive in...moreYes. I, too, dreamed that I could stop reading fluff horror like this. I'm a binger at heart, though, and know that the best way to stop is to dive in headfirst and not come up for air until I've had my fill of zombies, vampires, werewolves and other things that go bump in the night. I will say this for Wellington: he writes damned addicting books.(less)
A decent conclusion to the series. It says something about the pace of the story that I've torn through all three books in under a week. Wellington de...moreA decent conclusion to the series. It says something about the pace of the story that I've torn through all three books in under a week. Wellington definitely knows how to write a story that will grab you and not let you go, no matter the minor complaints that I may have about the style of zombie he uses. This one features so many liches, magic and other things necromantic that I felt like I was reading a Warcraft book rather than a zombie book.(less)
A huge improvement upon the first book in the series, Monster Island. This second book is set during the initial zombie outbreak and deals with humani...moreA huge improvement upon the first book in the series, Monster Island. This second book is set during the initial zombie outbreak and deals with humanity's first attempts to combat the ravenous hordes- which far more my type of zombie tale. The reason for the rising of the dead wasn't as large a part of this book as it was before, which allowed me to just relax and enjoy the blood. Bonus points for the zombie vs. bear scene, I quite enjoyed it. (less)