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Cider with Rosie

(The Autobiographical Trilogy #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  11,678 ratings  ·  881 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, Vintage Classics, 231 pages
Published May 28th 2002 by Vintage (first published 1959)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  11,678 ratings  ·  881 reviews

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Kevin Ansbro
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 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 years
Vanessa Wu
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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.

Steven Godin
Ah...the good old days as a little nipper - rolling around in hay, tickling girls and getting kicked in the shins, licking jam off a spoon and declaring war on a swarm of wasps, trying to catch tiny fish in the local stream with a hair net, and getting tipsy on my father's homebrewed ale before getting a right good rollicking. Reading Cider with Rosie bought back so many memories of my own childhood, I almost forgot about Laurie Lee's. Filled with elaborate metaphors that conjure up wonderful im ...more
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
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, ...more
Sep 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
I enjoyed this little book, so to say I was somewhat disappointed sounds disingenuous, but I honestly thought this would be a 5 star read. All the ingredients were there; classic, set in The Cotswolds area of England in the early twentieth century, the musings of an adult about his childhood days "when life was slow and oh so mellow" kind of thing. But my imagination just didn't take flight to that place I wanted to go. Parts of it were good, I especially liked the chapter on the grannies, only ...more
Emily B
I listened to the BBC dramatisation which was great. It’s only a few hours long and really engaging
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5-stars Rounded Up.

Cider With Rosie is a memoir of Laurie Lee’s life in the Cotswolds immediately following World War I, and reminded me of A. J. Cronin’s The Green Years, being told by a young boy of a poor family. I thought this book was quite lovely in places and a bit bogged down in others. It had marvelous potential that it dropped just short of reaching.

There is a story about two “grannies” who live next door to the Lee family, rivals and grudging enemies, their story made me think of tw
Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of "A Month in the Country"
Shelves: 1001-bymr, lapl
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
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written eulogy for a magical childhood and a lost world. Cider With Rosie is unquestionably a five star read.

I think this is my third read and so, of course, I knew already that Cider With Rosie was wonderful but I had forgotten just how wonderful. It's simply a perfect book: an elegiac, beautifully written, poignant, melancholic, and, above all, life reaffirming. One of the most beautifully written books I know of (right up there with A Month in the Country and The Remains of the
Jul 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was looking forward to reading this memoir, the first in a three-part series. I was especially looking forward to it since this part of the series was based in one of my favorite places in England – the Cotswolds. Unfortunately, this book was so dry and boring. I didn’t care for the writing style. Towards the end, I really didn’t like how he and his friends tried to rape a mentally handicapped girl. Granted, they were young, but that was so disturbing. They weren’t successful. What bothered me ...more
Connie G
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 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
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. This book was such a joy and pleasure to read. It is a collection of Laury Lee's memories of his childhood spent in a remote village during the time after the end of the first world war. This is a very heart-warming book told with so much understanding ad love for the place and people who lived there. There isn't any plot or one connected story to the book, so don't go into it expecting that. Treat it as a collection of short stories about different aspects of the rural life of the tim ...more
Oct 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
I inexplicably felt relieved to finish reading this wonderful book since it has long challenged me since around those late 1960's in my college years in Bangkok (there were only six state universities then). Our English teacher, Mr Tony Kidd, was teaching us a foundation English course (I can't recall exactly if I was in year 1 or 2) and one morning at weekends I asked him for one or two English books (not simplified ones) so that I could improve my reading skills and he kindly recommended this ...more
Bionic Jean
Beautifully told and evocative autobiography of a world now lost to us. Unparalleled.
Jul 21, 2013 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
Emily May
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
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2017
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
(3.5) Lee’s quaint family memoir is set in the years immediately after World War I. He was born in 1914 and his childhood unfolded in Stroud, Gloucestershire and nearby village Slad. I started reading Cider with Rosie in April 2019 when we stopped in Stroud for a night on the way back from a holiday in Devon. I got through the first 100 pages quickly, with the voice reminding me slightly of Gerald Durrell’s in his autobiographical trilogy, but then set the book aside for over a year before picki ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
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
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, classic
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
Mar 19, 2018 marked it as sony-or-android
Shelves: more-wi
Not sure how it got on my list last week, but today I'm prioritizing it because Michael Perry, in one of his WSJ columns, mentioned that he loved hearing his wife read it aloud to him, even though he doesn't like being read to (which he does admit is ironic in several ways). ...more
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
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
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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

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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