Kathy Carlson's Reviews > The Cider House Rules

The Cider House Rules by John Irving
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's review
Jul 01, 2010

liked it
Read in January, 2001

John Irving is an interesting writer. He is a real story-teller who evidently relishes in his story-telling. He weaves a bit of the fantastical into his otherwise realistic narrative and spends a great deal of time developing his characters. They all have complex histories and personalities. Irving has so many side stories for character development that it actually starts to get tedious, but it still makes for good reading. This complex story has many themes, and the overall idea of the book is a comprehensive moral exploration into abortion. The main character, whose name I can no longer recall, gets a job in an abortion clinic and has to face how he feels about it. In the end, he decides to become an abortionist, allowing his compassion for women in horrible positions to overcome his evident compassion for the little babies who lives are being destroyed. While Irving delves deeply and thoroughly into unwanted pregnancy and abortion, the ultimate decision of the main character is difficult for me to accept. He explains that the sad and scared women are given hope through abortion, yet I can see no hope in death. Yes, life can be hard, and it is especially harder when we make selfish decisions in how we choose to behave. To choose death over life is the destruction of hope.

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