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The Cider House Rules

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Raised from birth in the orphanage at St. Cloud's, Maine, Homer Wells has become the protege of Dr. Wilbur Larch, its physician and director. There Dr. Larch cares for the troubled mothers who seek his help, either by delivering and taking in their unwanted babies or by performing illegal abortions. Meticulously trained by Dr. Larch, Homer assists in the former, but draws the line at the latter. Then a young man brings his beautiful fiancee to Dr. Larch for an abortion, and everything about the couple beckons Homer to the wide world outside the orphanage ...

1064 pages, Hardcover

First published May 10, 1985

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About the author

John Irving

164 books14.2k followers
JOHN IRVING was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was twenty-six. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven.
Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for his short story “Interior Space.” In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2013, he won a Lambda Literary Award for his novel In One Person.
An international writer—his novels have been translated into more than thirty-five languages—John Irving lives in Toronto. His all-time best-selling novel, in every language, is A Prayer for Owen Meany.
Avenue of Mysteries is his fourteenth novel.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,759 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
795 reviews3,609 followers
July 25, 2021
How the bigotry, insanity, and inhumanity of institutionalized stigmatization of and hatred against women, especially regarding pregnancy, marriage and the control about bastardization of humans, lead to disgusting world views and practices that were omnipresent just a few decades ago and still are in many parts of the world, is a key element of the novel.

Orphanages for kids that could have parents, but are born under the stigma of being illegitimate and thereby the societal death and endless disgrace and danger of ostracism for the mother, are a logical result and a part of the setting oft he bittersweet tragicomedy Irving serves the reader.

Strong women, emancipation, and feminism are a key element of Irvings´ writing, possibly a side effect of growing up without a father and having an even deeper relationship with his mother, which leads to an idealization and glorification of femininity.

The role of fathers. How they react, what they think, want, feel, how different their opinions and mentality are in comparison to the mothers, how stupid social conventions influence the child-father relations, and what true manliness is. Maybe too influenced by the fact that Irving had no father, he dealt with this topic with an intensity many bad, disinterested, or overstressed fathers can´t or don´t want to invest.

Autobiography and his writing are often the same and I couldn´t name a writer who added so much of himself, even very intimate and personal details, in his work. Only Irving knows how much is fictional and how much is true, but I find it amazing to use the gift of writing to make oneself immortal by taking pieces out of one's real life and make them fictional masterpieces.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Ben.
74 reviews940 followers
March 1, 2010
I shouldn't be throwing semicolons around too often; and yet, after reading Irving, what do I find myself doing? semicolon, semicolon, SEMICOLON ; ; ; ; I'm not winking at you; those are semicolons.. now you know what I mean. Irving affects me in many ways -- the semicolons are just one example. (And yes, I know I'm probably not using them correctly -- you don't have to point that out. You really don't.)

More than a week after finishing, The Cider House Rules, it's still on my mind, still sneaking into my brain at different times in the day; still a part of me. Washing my face last night, talking to myself, "Just a light touch there with the wash cloth on the cheeks there, Benny, -- just like Dr. Larch with the Ether, light touch". And trust me, it's not just that: I feel like I know the characters. And I think about them randomly, periodically, throughout the day.

The novel takes place in the first half of the 20th century, in Maine. Most of this is at an orphanage hidden away in the remote town of St. Clouds; a former logging camp, now desolate, lifeless, and empty-feeling -- with its past of whores and ruffians still present in its aura. This is the perfect place for savior Dr. Larch’s orphanage, where he also performs abortions, which were illegal at the time. Larch was the only known abortion doctor in the area that didn't provide them in dangerous ways - Doc Larch performed them correctly and safely, with great respect and care for the female’s dignity and health. This is also where protagonist orphan, Homer Wells, spends his childhood and teen years; where he learns to become Dr. Larch's helper. He spent some interesting -- to say the least -- periods of time living with foster families as well, but finds that the St. Clouds orphanage is his real home.

And then, true to Homer's odd life, he ends up leaving the orphanage under unique circumstances. The story follows Homer into adulthood where he lives at “Ocean View Orchards”. During this time you get the feeling that Homer’s destiny is unfolding, but into what, you don’t know; you just know that it’s not going as planned. Homer also develops a powerful yet complex and taboo love; finds meaningful work; meets life changing people that are his new family, all while being away from his true father figure, Dr. Larch. There are a lot of interweaving storylines that result in humane, moral lessons that show through beautifully -- if not at the time, then at the end of the book, or after reflection.

More than anything, this book got me thinking about abortion. I thought about it hard: more in-depthly and more seriously than I ever had before. It became something other than an abstract concept to me; I felt for the women that needed them, and I felt for the boy who believed that it was murder. It humanized the issue for me, and solidified my formerly tepid belief in a woman's right to choose. It's pretty clear that Irving agrees with this (a woman's right to choose); a major part of the story is in fact, him making the pro choice point; but I could also see someone walking away from this with a pro life stance, or a more adamant belief in that stance. After all, young Homer was an orphan that liked his life and made positive contributions to the world, all of which wouldn't have happened if his mother hadn't chosen life. At the same time though, our story takes place when abortion was illegal, and you see Dr. Larch save lives, and the issue of choice itself is framed almost perfectly. The book made me realize the impact that an abortion, non-abortion, or botched abortion can have on someone's life. You have no choice but to have an opinion on it after reading this book, because you get hit with the weight of its seriousness.

The Cider House Rules has all the traits of a good Irving novel: the humane, odd, and likable characters with unusual life experiences; a storyline with moral undertones; profound scenes -- some zany and humorous -- others wise and touching. Don't get me wrong, this book isn't for everyone. It doesn’t take off right away -- someone with fast paced standards may even consider the whole first half slow. If you're adamantly pro-life, you probably won't find yourself enjoying this book -- abortion is too much of an ongoing issue. And abortion isn't the only weighty theme here: betrayal, war, morality, laws-and-rules, the soul, incest, family, death, violence against women; the list goes on.

Essentially, The Cider House Rules is about the many rules of life: some written, others not; some meant to be broken; some need to be created. It's about the concept of fate and how our decisions affect both our own lives and the lives of others -- whether they are from playing by the rules, or not. An exchange from the book sums this up quite well:

“Every time you throw a snail off the dock,' Ray teased Homer Wells, 'you're making someone start his whole life over.'

'Maybe I'm doing him a favor,' said Homer Wells, the orphan."

This may not be John Irving's best novel, but of the four I've read, it's certainly his most important.
Profile Image for Glenn Sumi.
404 reviews1,532 followers
April 1, 2022
Hey! I just plucked my first John Irving with The Cider House Rules!

Something strange happened midway through reading The Cider House Rules, my first John Irving book.* I found myself completely immersed in its world.

What’s strange is that for the first couple hundred pages, I didn’t particularly believe in this early 20th century Dickensian fable about orphans, surrogate families, an ether-addicted abortionist and the arbitrariness of some rules. But Irving’s storytelling skills eventually won me over. His prose is persuasive.

Homer Wells is raised in an orphanage in the isolated town of St. Cloud’s, Maine. Although he’s been placed with families four separate times, something has always gone wrong with his adoptions, and so he continually ends up back at the orphanage, where he eventually assists Dr. Wilbur Larch in his unusual obi/gyn practice.

Women come to St. Cloud’s to either give their children up for adoption or have the doctor terminate their pregnancies. When Homer is old enough to understand the latter, he decides to stop helping with those procedures. And when Wally Worthington and Candy Kendall, a glamorous young couple who’ve come to terminate their own unexpected pregnancy, tell Homer about the apple orchards back home near the ocean, he leaves with them, planning to stay just for a week or so to learn about orchards for the orphanage.

The book essentially recounts Homer’s coming-of-age. Out in the big bad world, he realizes that evil and temptation exist, and that moral choices aren’t so black and white. Having grown up in an old-fashioned world, presided over by Larch and Nurses Edna (who’s secretly in love with Larch) and Angela, he’s been insulated. Choices seem so much easier in the books that he used to read to the orphans: Dickens’s Great Expectations and David Copperfield (for the boys), and Jane Eyre for the girls.

In a sense, Homer sets out to realize his own great expectations, working in the orchards that Wally’s mother runs, falling in love with Candy and forging a lasting friendship with Wally. Meanwhile, Dr. Larch, who’s addicted to inhaling ether, is getting older; the board of the orphanage is looking to replace him. Will Homer eventually return?

Anyone who’s only seen the film version will be surprised by a plotline about another major character, Melony, an orphan who initiates Homer into sex and feels betrayed by his departure. She’s determined to track him down, but her motivations remain vague. Revenge? Jealousy? Again: because Irving is such a smooth and skilled writer, the Melony sections are always readable and provide a bit of tension in a plot that can sometimes feel loose.

A few other quibbles: Homer’s decision to leave with Candy and Wally feels odd, especially since he’s just met them. Often the book’s humour works, but just as often it feels contrived. And I felt cheated at the end when some big secrets are revealed – things we’ve anticipated for half the book – and we don’t get to see the characters’ responses.

But I came to love Irving’s people. I loved seeing them interact with each other, pick up experience, get older, reflect on their earlier selves. They’ll teach you about the female reproductive system or how many bushels of apples it takes to create a vat of cider. They’ll make you consider how something as simple as a Ferris Wheel might seem mysterious and magical, or how it might feel to ride a bicycle if you’ve never ridden one before.

I also liked the book’s central allegory about blindly following rules. At times the theme felt a bit didactic, but at others times it felt beautifully integrated into the story.

The author has great empathy for his characters. And he knows how to create an entire fictional world. The details might not seem true in today’s busy, cynical world, but they do in the world of the book. And that’s enough for me.

I’m looking forward to entering another one of Irving’s fictional worlds soon.


* I almost finished Irving’s In One Person for a book club, but still had 60 pages to go before the group met. (I should go back and finish it.) And since Cider House, I’ve also read his breakthrough book The World According to Garp
Profile Image for Nicole.
441 reviews13.4k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
October 28, 2022
DNF 1/4
Póki co nie mam do niej serca, a brzmi jak coś co mogę pokochać.
October 30, 2021
Well, after two long and somewhat tedious months, I have managed to push myself through to the other side, and I'm ecstatic to say, I have finally finished The Cider House Rules. This was a massive disappointment to say the least, and as always, I'll explain why.

This book has many positive and glowing reviews, but for me on a personal level, it did absolutely nothing for my pleasure as a reader, or, my mental health. ( I wanted to desperately give this book away)

The Cider House Rules could have been 200 pages less, and I still wouldn't have enjoyed it any better. The actual narrative was long-winded, tiring, and for the most part, consisted of pretty pointless descriptions that contributed nothing to the plot. The characters were skeletal in description, and I felt terribly distant from them. There was a complete lack of tension and whenever anything even remotely exciting happened, it was extremely anticlimatic. It got to the excruciating point, of me just not caring. And really, characters called Angel and Candy, do more than just make me shudder.

Something else I noticed with Irving, which wasn't immediately apparent, is his rather odd obsession with women and their weight. This obviously doesn't sit well with me, and to be honest, who the hell cares how much a woman weighs? It obviously matters a great deal to Irving.

There was no real structure to Irving's writing, and apart from the obvious medical terminology, his style was simple, and unsatisfying, and it appeared as though some sentences were strangely cut short at times.

For a book primarily based on adoption and abortion, I honestly expected to have a winner here, but unfortunately, I'm left with a terribly bitter taste in my mouth, and a dislike for Irving.
Profile Image for Katie.
174 reviews107 followers
September 18, 2007
I just finished reading this novel, and it is so phenominal that I'm almost speechless, and I'm sad that it is over. The story is engrossing, rich, moving, tragic, and satisfying, and the imagery is extraordinarily powerful. The plot takes place during the first half of the 1900's in rural Maine, and tells of Dr. Larch, an obstetrician, founder of an orphanage, abortionist, and ether addict, and his favorite orphan, and heroic figure, Homer Wells. Irving develops the characters superbly, such that the reader comes to know and love all of them, even those with significant flaws. The abortion issue is handled perfectly; while it becomes obvious what Irving's opinion is, he presents both sides of the issue objectively and refrains from preaching on the subject or becoming overtly political. Normally I recommend reading a book before seeing the movie adaptation, but in this case, the movie is excellent, so by reading the book first, one may not appreciate the film as much as one should. Irving is a storyteller on par with Dickens, and I'm going to add his other works to my future reading list.
Profile Image for Emily.
698 reviews2,024 followers
November 3, 2014
While The Cider House Rules is an undeniably well-written novel, I grew impatient with the lengthy narrative and the idle characters. It was hard for me to feel any sense of connection to the different characters, and I cared very little about Homer's life at Ocean View - I was always anxious to get back to St. Cloud's and the orphanage. For me, the real story was about the relationship between Dr. Larch and Homer Wells, and I lost interest in the story once Larch and Homer ceased to communicate.

Though Homer is the protagonist of the story, he remained inscrutable throughout the book. Except for his propensity to interject "right" into any conversation, and his longing for a family, I would not be able to describe any of Homer's other characteristics, his personality, or aspirations. Wally and Candy Worthington, the perfect golden gods, were so flat and dull that I usually couldn't wait for the story to shift away from them. The triangle between Wally, Candy, and Homer could have been interesting, but it is written without any tension between the characters. In fact, Irving completely skips over fifteen years of the trio's life together. I wish the story had skipped completely over Homer's life in Ocean View. Relationships were never explored to their potentials. Even Olive Worthington is so sensible that she never blames or stigmatizes Homer and Candy for their actions; Ray Kendall, who might have had an interesting paternal relationship with Homer (especially since parents are so scarce in this story), dies without confronting either Homer or Candy. In short, a love triangle which could have been an immense source of drama (to characters who actually reacted to events around them) became boring. It was so boring that fifteen years of potential strain was glossed over.

The one truly interesting character in the book (besides Dr. Larch) turned out to be the illustrious Melony, whom I hugely enjoyed reading. Melony may have been ridiculous, but she was a well fleshed-out, interesting character, whose life followed a reasonable yet interesting route. I was equally interested in the two nurses at the orphanage, who were only described briefly in the beginning of the novel. Yet these two characters - who have such strong presences in the lives of Dr. Larch and Homer - never have any face time of their own. I couldn't separate Angela from Edna, nor understand why Homer chose Angela as the namesake for his child. Even a few pages on either of the nurses would have been useful and illuminating.

Instead, Irving segues into long descriptions of characters such as the stationmaster. While the stationmaster is undoubtedly amusing, I wondered why I cared. And yet I liked the stationmaster passage better than the scenes at Ocean View. It's unfortunate that the 5 pages introducing the stationmaster were more interesting than Homer, Candy, and Wally combined.

In the end, finishing The Cider House Rules became a chore. I fail to see the brilliance apparently displayed in this novel. Perhaps it only appears on a second reading; however, I don't think I'll ever pick this up again. (Oh, and can I express my distaste for reading pages and pages about characters named Candy and Angel? One would have been enough.)
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
789 reviews1,183 followers
February 5, 2021
"I have made an orphan; his name is Homer Wells and he will belong to St. Cloud’s forever.”

John Irving knows how to write a story. He knows which words to use to start a movie playing in the reader's mind as soon as their eyes take in the first sentence. 

Perhaps that's why several of his books have been made into movies, because someone read it, saw the movie play out, and thought, Damn, this book is a good movie!

I have not seen "The Cider House Rules" movie, not the one with Charlize Theron and Tobey Maguire anyway. I saw the better (no doubt) version, the original, the one in the pages of this book.
And ya know what? It is a good movie!

I didn't love it as much as A Prayer for Owen Meany and it could have been about 200 pages shorter, and Mr Irving should have referred to the lesbian couple as each other's partner instead of their "friend" {wink, wink}.

But I still really enjoyed it. I loved the characters, except for the ones you're meant not to love, and they and their stories will stay with me for a long time.

If you're an Irving fan, or a fan of books with a remarkable and unforgettable cast of characters and a layered story that spans decades, you don't want to miss this one.

Cider Hard Cider GIF - Cider HardCider Drinks GIFs

Cheers, John Irving. Until we meet again..... in The Fourth Hand.
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51k followers
August 6, 2022
I read this book a long time ago (more than 20 years), but today seems like a good day to review it. It was published in 1985 and starts in the 1940s.

It's a long, complicated, literary novel that tackles the issue of abortion and also racism.

"Good night, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England." That's how the elderly Dr Larch says goodnight to his collection of orphans.

Larch is an abortionist who took to the task after seeing the suffering of prostitutes forced to seek unqualified help in this area. He also accepts unwanted babies into his orphanage. He's a complex individual, addicted to the ether with which he sedates his patients.

The story follows one of the orphans, Homer, and as he grows Larch comes to see him as his successor, training him appropriately. As a young man Homer leaves the orphanage and becomes involved with a couple who run a cider orchard. The work is primarily done by black labourers who live in the Cider House and have the eponymous list of rules as their own private constitution to maintain order/civility in the difficult circumstances of their lives. Homer and later, his son, mix with the labourers and many questions about American society and various personal relationships and power dynamics are asked.

The book doesn't preach at you. It navigates the fraught waters of race and abortion in the US over several decades as Homer passes through various stages in his life. It's primarily about people, about the strange, prickly, violent, loving individuals that occupy its focus.

Like much literary fiction there are no answers given, no winners, just lives lived. People are flawed, inconsistent, hard to understand, but ultimately they're the company we get as we march through the years.

In the end, Homer resolves his feelings about Dr Larch, the orphanage, and the career Dr Larch had mapped out for him.

Irving is a skilled and sensitive writer, the book is an engaging read. The focus on found family, relationships, procreations, fathers both biological and those who step into the role, all provide a framework on which the issue of abortion, unwanted babies, and broken lives can be exhibited, inspected, and explored.

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Profile Image for Patricija || book.duo.
533 reviews365 followers
August 24, 2020
„Tie patys žmonės, kurie mums sako, kad privalome saugoti dar negimusių kūdikių gyvybę, - jie yra tie patys, kurie nebenori saugoti nieko kito, tik save, po to, kai atsitiktinai pradėtas kūdikis jau būna gimęs.“


Kad ir ką darai, būk naudingas. Kad ir kur bebūtum, kad ir ką bedirbtum – tik būk naudingas. Galbūt darbas nebus Dievo, bet argi visi darbai, kurie ne jo, tampa Šėtono darbais? Ar viskas gyvenime tik juoda ir balta? Ar nusižengimas taisyklei tampa nuodėme? O galbūt didesnė nuodėmė būtų jai paklusti? Kartais reikia tiesiog pagyventi ir pamatyti, bet argi ne tai yra didžiausia įmanoma prabanga, tenkanti žmogui? Galėti laukti ir stebėti, atsitraukiant ir nesikišant? O kada nesikišti taptų nuodėme? Kokį sprendimą būtų galima laikyti pačiu asmeniškiausiu? Ar tą, kuris pasirenka gyvybę sukurti, ar tą, kuris pasirenka gyvybę nutraukti? O ir galiausiai, kur brėžiame ribą – kas yra gyvybė? Kur brėžiame ribas sprendimų, kuriuos priimdami prisidengiame Dievo taisyklėmis? O galbūt taisyklės skirtos tik žmonėms? Kuriamos tik žmonių? Atviros interpretacijoms?

Johnas Irvingas vienoje pastraipoje moka pasakyti daugiau, nei kiti rašytojai pasako per visą knygą. Jis kuria tokį gyvą, tokį tikrą pasaulį, dėmesį skirdamas ne visiems, toli gražu, bet dievaži, kuomet jau atsuka rampos šviesas į veikėją, jis sužiba pačiomis įvairiausiomis įmanomomis spalvomis. Ir visai kaip spalvos, taip ir žmonių savybės čia nėra nei gražios, nei negražios – jos tiesiog yra. Visiems atviri keliai rinktis, suprasti, spręsti – kokias taisykles kurtis ir kokių laikytis – nes nesvarbu kur ir kada gimėme, visi turime teisę į taisykles, savas ar svetimas, kaip ir visi turime teisę prieš jas užsimerkti. Ir bet koks taisyklių primetimas, svetimų, nesuprantamų, niekada neatneša tokios pabaigos, kurios norėtum ar tikėtumeis. Irvingas, kaip ir didžioji dalis jo veikėjų, nesiima nei aiškinti, nei teisti. Jis rodo – tik tuomet, kai paleidi stipriausius primestus įsitikinimus – ką mylėti, kaip mylėti, kaip gyventi ir su kuo, tik tuomet iš tiesų gali pradėti ne šiaip egzistuoti.

Vis dažniau sakau, kad mažai tikrai storų knygų turi tvirtą pateisinimą būti tokiomis storomis. Dažniausiai niekas nenukentėtų, kokiam šimtui puslapių nubyrėjus. Taip ir čia – keli apkarpymai šen ar ten, keli išmesti dažniausi pasikartojimai būtų tikrai knygos nesugadinę. Ir vis dėlto, net nuobodžiausias Irvingo puslapis vis tiek persmelktas talentu, prieš kurį neįmanoma užsimerkti. Daug čia vietos įsižeisti, priimti asmeniškai, susierzinti, bet Irvingas nemanipuliuoja nei skaitytoju, nei jo emocijomis. Jis rodo kaip yra ir kaip būna, leisdamas tam, kuris verčia puslapius, į viską žvelgti sekant savo paties moraliniu kompasu. Jo veikėjai, tokie gyvi ir tokie tikri, absoliučiai žmogiški, todėl ne visada pateisinimami, gyvenimai, plaukiantys savomis vagomis, bet kaip ir upės subėgantys į vieną vandenyną, tokį neaprėpiamą, nenuspėjamą – visai kaip pats gyvenimas. Nes Sidro namų taisyklės nėra tik romanas. Tai gyvenimas.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
696 reviews1,073 followers
June 14, 2017
This is a pretty hefty novel, but so worth it!
It covers an expanse of characters' history - the main one being Homer, a young boy brought up in an orphanage his entire life. The orphanage is connected to a hospital where secret abortions are performed.
Homer becomes assistant to Dr. Larch and learns the trade, before having a moral struggle, and chooses to leave the orphanage to live with a couple who have recently visited.
He moves to their farm, where they grow apples to make cider and Homer's life changes for ever.
I love this novel, it is one of my favourites and put Irving's books at the top of my list.
Anyone who has an interest in American history and in depth character studies - go for it, you won't be disappointed!
Profile Image for Kerri.
980 reviews351 followers
October 26, 2019
I found the first 200 pages of this book to be just okay. They flew by fairly quickly and I was more or less enjoying it, but I can't say I cared too much either. It took me a little while to adjust to the writing style too, in particular the way it seemed to jump from one thing to another with little warning. At some point I realised I'd gotten used to this, and had found some sort of firm footing as I read.

What's interesting for me about this is that there were many times when I didn't really care about what was happening, I wasn't that interested in Homer or his life or Candy, who I had wildly mixed feelings about, but I still liked the book. I was mulling over that as I finished the final pages, when a line ended up summing up perfectly what I felt:

('Here in St. Cloud's,' Wilber Larch had written, 'we learn to love the difficult.')

Something that was slightly annoying for me is that the blurb on my copy of the book refers to Homer's, 'strange relationship with the wife of his closest friend.' Which meant that the entire time Wally is missing, I knew he had to be alive and would return and marry Candy! An odd decision to give that away.

Dr. Larch is the only character I liked for the entirety of the book, described in the same blurb as, 'a man of rare compassion and with an addiction to ether.'

One of my favourite of Larch's observations is this one, regarding croquet:

'From a watercolor of some strange lawn games, he had once imagined that striking a wooden ball with a wooden mallet as hard as he could would be rewarding, but he wanted time to practice this art alone and unobserved.'

I feel that way about many things-- I wouldn't mind trying it, but certainly not in front of many people, especially if those people already know what to do!

Overall a book I did enjoy. I want to read more by John Irving, especially 'The World According to Garp', since I loved the movie. I will also try to find the movie version of 'The Cider House Rules', since I have heard it is good. 🍎
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for AiK.
491 reviews113 followers
January 6, 2023
Это очень добрая книга, хотя временами слишком праведная, иногда чересчур откровенная – в чём в чём, в ханжестве Ирвинга нельзя упрекнуть, это книга о сиротах, брошенных матерями, книга о молодых матерях, брошенных мужчинами, книга о гинекологах, делающих моральный выбор – когда появляется душа у младенца и этично ли дел��ть аборты или этично ли не делать аборты, если он может помочь женщине избавиться от нежеланной беременности? В книге много натуралистичных подробностей, но их шокирующая реалистичность с медицинскими подробностями из акушерской практики придает диагностической честности этой книге. Эта книга, призванная пробуждать подавленный голос совести у безответственных отцов и несчастных матерей сирот, у общества, отказывающем женщинам в праве отказаться от нежеланной беременности, не оказывающего поддержку одиноким матерям, вынужденным отказываться от своих детей. В ушах звучат безутешные рыдания Кудри Дея о том, что «он самый лучший», думающего, что красивая чета Кенди и Уолли пришла выбирать ребенка для усыновления и что они остановили выбор на почти взрослом Гомере. Да, он самый лучший и вообще все ребятишки в приюте – самые лучшие. Он пишет о Сент-Облаке, как о нечто вневременном, внепространственном и незыблемом (сироты не любят перемен) с внешне кажущейся унылостью, но наполненной светом и теплом. И действительно, брошенные дети в этом приюте имеют свою большую семью.
Дилемма делать или не делать аборты решается в пользу абортов.
Что в книге показалось слишком уж невозможным – тройственный союз в течение 15 лет. Никто не догадался, никто не сорвался, все бесконфликтно и безревностно. Это не человеки. Если Кенди спит одновременно с двумя мужчинами, и Гомер остается спокойно принимающим наличие другого сексуального партнера в ее жизни, это кажется противным человеческой природе, - либо он ее не любит, либо он абсолютно бесчувственен. Сама Кенди тоже считает приемлемым ради непричинения боли Уолли, открытую полигамность (хотя бы для одного из партнеров). Кроме того, пусть даже Гомер все изучил на практике, как в век назад повивальные бабки, его согласие практиковать родовспоможение и аборты без медицинского образования, кажутся не просто смелыми, но и где-то даже преступными, во всяком случае, ему приходится взять другое имя. Кроме того, проповедуемая жизненная философия «жить, чтобы приносить пользу», безусловно, заслуживает всяческого уважения, и, наверное, бывают такие люди, но их мало. Даже сам Гомер сначала стремился быть счастливым мужем и отцом, и только потом решил посвятить себя «промыслу Господню» - родам женщин, не желающих детей, и абортам тех, кому по сроку беременности возможно освободиться от бремени.
Роман поднимает огромное количество социальных, этических, гендерных, расовых, политических проблем, проблем семейного насилия, нетерпимости, он просто раскалывает моральными дилеммами все общество, начиная с зародышевого состояния. Это роман, который защищает право женщин самим выбирать свою судьбу. К сожалению, все еще в большом количестве стран аборты запрещены, и поднимаемые проблемы остаются в повестке дня.

Profile Image for Jr Bacdayan.
211 reviews1,681 followers
May 27, 2013
In other parts of the world, they love John Green. Here in St. JR's, we love John Irving.

According to my dictionary, Green is of the color of growing foliage, between yellow and blue in the color wheel. While Irving on the other hand, is a genius, hard-working, persevering person who can manage time efficiently; knows how to balance important aspects of life. This has led me to conclude that Irving is a much more suitable name for a writer than Green, and has also solidified my belief that Irving is a much better novelist than Green. It just struck me that the definition of Irving is so close to Irving's nature as a writer. "knows how to balance important aspects of life" So true. John Green, taking nothing away from him, has much to learn from John Irving. The hordes of teens crying because of John Green's melodramatic deaths will benefit much more if they try reading John Irving. I think I'll feel much better about the collective future of the human race if the crazy teenage obsession towards John Green was given to John Irving instead.

Moving on, John Irving's The Cider House Rules is a thought-provoking novel that's both entertaining and affecting. As expected from Irving, the novel is filled with characters to feel for. Characters that have the weirdest backgrounds, the funniest thoughts, the craziest names. Yet they appear more real than the real characters in our lives, the characters we know. It has always been Irving's strength, his characters. Homer Wells, the protagonist, is an orphan boy whose search for identity manifests a richness of the human spirit that is unlike any I have ever read. His story is a marvel to watch as it unfolds. During the first parts of the book, I couldn't help feel that grim aura that enveloped St. Cloud's. That fog-like cloud, that mist that was ever present, that presence of loneliness, of unwantedness, of reckless abandon. That feeling that every orphan felt etched inside their bones. The feeling that every woman had whether their case was that of an abortion or of the orphan conception. I felt it. “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” That Homer turned to Dickens and Bronte for guidance was fitting. His several experiences with foster homes made him realize that he belonged in St. Clouds. He learned "to be of use". So he became the assistant to Dr. Larch, the director of the orphanage and also his father figure. The relationship between Dr. Larch and Homer Wells has got to be one of the most touching examples of a father-son relationship in literature albeit not by blood. From St. Clouds he would move to Ocean View Orchard. I'm not going to get into specifics, this is not that kind of a review. You need to discover that on your own. I'm just gonna say that his journey towards finding out who he is ultimately ends in a self-discovery that touches the heart. It's a very special book.

One of the most important if not the most important point of the book has got to do with abortion. Dr. Larch did abortions in St. Cloud's and wanted Homer to follow in his foot-steps. Homer, though he thought abortion should be legalized, didn't want to perform it. He believed that fetuses have souls. “Here is the trap you are in.... And it's not my trap—I haven't trapped you. Because abortions are illegal, women who need and want them have no choice in the matter, and you—because you know how to perform them—have no choice, either. What has been violated here is your freedom of choice, and every woman's freedom of choice, too. If abortion was legal, a woman would have a choice—and so would you. You could feel free not to do it because someone else would. But the way it is, you're trapped. Women are trapped. Women are victims, and so are you.”

“These same people who tell us we must defend the lives of the unborn-they are the same people who seem not so interested in defending anyone but themselves after the accident of birth is complete! These same people who profess their love of the unborn's soul-they don't care to make much of a contribution to the poor, they don't care to offer much assistance to the unwanted or the oppressed! How do they justify such a concern for the fetus and such a lack of concern for unwanted and abused children? They condemn others for the accident of conception; they condemn the poor-as if the poor can help being poor. One way the poor could help themselves would be to be in control of the size of their families. I thought that freedom of choice was obviously democratic-was obviously American!”

“If pride is a sin ... moral pride is the greatest sin.”

I have come out of this book much more aware of my position towards abortion. Before I read this book, I would have said that I was against abortion. I didn't like the thought of killing babies, but I hadn't really reflected on the gravity of the situation. With the insights I've gotten from the book, and after my struggle with my thoughts. I have finally decided that I am against anti-abortion laws. It actually doesn't matter if you believe that it is wrong or not. What matters is that people who think otherwise should have the choice to avail it. If I have learned anything in my short life, it is never to impose my will upon others. And I believe that anti-abortion laws, is just that. Imposition of self-righteousness. I'm not forcing my belief upon you, I'm not starting a debate. I'm just stating my opinion. Nothing else. This book opened my eyes, if not removed that veil of ignorance around it. It's just saddening that abortion is still illegal in my country. Here's to hoping that it'll change soon.

Another important point of the book has to do with rules. The name of the novel, The Cider House Rules, concurs to the idea that rules play a very important role in this novel. Actually, it has more to do with breaking the rules. “We got our own rules.” The words of Mr. Rose, the boss of the apple-picking crew, when Homer asks him why the men don’t follow the rules posted in the cider house. Mr. Rose’s words underscore a major theme of the novel: when the rules don’t make sense, people have to make their own rules. Homer learns this lesson when he begins to perform abortions. Although the procedure is illegal, he feels he must “break the rules” to do what is right. In the end, he chose to be the Hero of his own life. He chose to make his own rules.

As I end, let me leave you with an excerpt that I think greatly encapsulates the message of the book:

“It´s natural to want someone you love to do what you want, or what you think would be good for them, but you have to let everything happen to them. You can't interfere with people you love any more than you're supposed to interfere with people you don't even know. And that's hard, ..., because you often feel like interfering -you want to be the one who makes the plans.”
Profile Image for Stacey B.
303 reviews68 followers
October 20, 2022
Had I never read this book or not watched the movie, I would have missed
out on something special. Looking at the reviews below tells me I'm not so wrong. There
are many written that are alike; no need for another.
This was such a great book by a great author.
Irving also starred in the 1999 movie.

Profile Image for Kamilė | Bukinistė.
233 reviews104 followers
May 19, 2023

Turbūt ne veltui Sidro Namų Taisykles taupiau, kaip paskutinę turimą Irvingo knygą savo lentynoje. Nes - o, vaikyti, kaip buvo gerai! Tik jums linkiu nieko nelaukti - imti, imti ir skaityti, ypač jei mėgstat šį autorių, tai Sidro Namų Taisyklės - išvis creme de la creme, na pati pati! Net romano vertėja yra sakiusi, kad jai - tai pati geriausia autoriaus knyga. Ir (kol kas) negaliu nesutikti, nors, atrodė, kad ir Garpomanijos virusą juk buvau pasigavus.

Taigi, pasikartosiu, jei mėgstat Irvingą - ir ši neabejotinai patiks, kaip ir kitose autoriaus knygose, galime pastebėti atsikartojančius motyvus, autoriaus braižą. Ypatingai tą sugebėjimą nupiešti pasaulį vaiko akimis: ne tą naivų, ne tą šabloninį neišmanėlio, nepatyrusio žmogaus vaizdinį, bet tą tokį savitą, kitokio vaiko pasaulį. Su visiškai atvirkščia, nei mums įprasta pasulėžiūra, neklišiniu mąstymu, o dar, o dar visa ta ironija - visada laiku ir visada vietoj. Na neturiu kur prikibti, net puslapių skaičius, kurį drąsiai būtų galima sumažinti, man buvo pats tas, nes tiesiog - tiesiog taip gera buvo gyventi kartu su Homeru, su Larču ir su Melonija, su visais tais šarmingais, ryškiais ir beprotiškai realistiškais Irvingo personažais.

Na o nepaisant autoriaus meistriškumo kurti tokius literatūrinius paveikslus - ne mažiau įdomi ir nepatogi buvo ir knygos tema, ar tiksliau siužetas, neatsiejamas nuo amžino klausimo - kada vaisius motinos įsčiose yra žmogus? Ir net jei jums atrodo, kad atsakymą žinote, ši istorija tikrai privers susimąstyti apie visus savo „niekada“, privers suabejoti savo įsitikinimais ir nuostatomis. Nes šis romanas - provokuoja. Ši istorija - provokuoja geraja prasme, ir čia nerasite atsakymų, nes čia nėra teisių ir klystančių veikėjų, čia yra tik žmonės, gyvi, tikri, visokie žmonės su visokiais jų gyvenimų nutikimais.

Ryški, beprotiška, šarminga, drąsi - viena geriausių šiemet skaitytų!
Profile Image for Cody | CodysBookshelf.
723 reviews209 followers
August 14, 2018
By now, every person I associate with on a regular basis knows how big a John Irving fan I am. It’s no secret that I think he is, arguably, the greatest living writer (with respect to Thomas Pynchon, Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, etc), and he has penned a number of modern American classics. I had read all the works from his “classic” period, except for one.

The Cider House Rules.

It was time to get rid of this blindspot.

I spent almost a week within the pages of this long novel. I spent a lot of time trudging the halls of St. Cloud’s orphanage with Doctor Larch and the nurses; my hands feel almost calloused from the months and years (or so it felt, at times) picking apples at the Ocean View orchard, with Homer and Angel and the migrants. Irving’s 1985 release almost totally took me back to the time he writes about: the first half of the twentieth century, in rural Maine country. The sense of setting perfectly evoked, able to swallow almost any reader.

Like every Irving novel, this is not a quick read. It unspools slowly — and Cider House seems to unspool even slower than this author’s other works; maybe it’s the long chapters — and forces the reader to have patience. All is worth it in the end.

I want to reread this book, or at least read about a world similar to this one. Maybe I’ll pick up another Dickens. My heart is left aching, knowing I’ve just experienced another modern classic as penned by John Irving.

”It’s natural to want someone you love to do what you want, or what you think would be good for them, but you have to let everything happen to them. You can't interfere with people you love any more than you're supposed to interfere with people you don't even know. And that's hard, because you often feel like interfering—you want to be the one who makes the plans.”
Profile Image for Dagio_maya .
910 reviews256 followers
February 6, 2021
” Le regole (egli arguiva) non pregano; le regole ordinano.”

Pubblicato nel 1985, “Le regole della casa del sidro”, è un romanzo molto conosciuto soprattutto per la trasposizione cinematografica del 1999.
La storia è ambientata nel nebbioso Maine tra il 1910 ed il 1940.
All’orfanotrofio di St Cloud’s, William Larch si occupa di far nascere bambini destinati all’abbandono ma, allo stesso tempo, è determinato nel sostenere quelle madri che, invece, scelgono l’aborto:

”... il lavoro del Signore e quello del Diavolo.”

Tra i tanti bambini ospitati, spicca Homer Wells che dopo una serie di grottesche adozioni fallite resta nella struttura come aiutante di Larch.
La vita abitudinaria tra la sala operatoria e la lettura serale di Dickens ai più piccoli, sembra ad Homer un punto fermo fino al giorno in cui arriva una coppia di fidanzati che stravolgeranno la sua vita...

La seconda parte del romanzo si svolge su più piani: da un lato Homer e la sua scoperta del mondo con le sue regole e delle sue complicate relazioni;
dall’altra Larch, che abbandonato da questo figlio putativo diventa sempre più dipendente dall’etere.

Forse a tratti un po’ dispersivo ma comunque un romanzo di grande ricchezza di personaggi, di ambientazioni e di contenuti.

” “Interferisco, io, forse?” domandò Larch. “Quando una donna assolutamente priva di mezzi mi dice che non può rassegnarsi ad abortire, che deve invece, semplicemente, mettere al mondo un altro orfano... interferisco, io? M’immischio forse?
“No,” disse, raschiando. “L’assisto nel parto, mannaggia. E credi che sia felice in genere la vita dei bambini che nascono qui? Credi forse che il loro futuro sia roseo?”
Profile Image for Pamela.
117 reviews27 followers
January 24, 2008
I was actually really surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I am VERY Pro-Life and was very skeptical before about picking it up...although I love John Irving as an author. He is excellent at character development and his stories are so multifaceted that you are never disappointed. This is certainly true here in this novel. My surprisingly favorite character was Melony. She was hauntingly creepy, pathetically adorable and demanding of your attention although not a primary character. I loved how Irving intertwined her story into the theme of the book. There was a parallel running between Dr. Larch and Homer that Irving carved brilliantly. Although somewhat expected, the ending was tragic and sad. I found myself torn with my own personal feelings about the love triangle of Wally, Candy and Homer. One always wants the orphan to find his/her riches or personal happiness. This novel reminds us that sometimes even the underdog doesn't win although he plays a damn good game. All in all, this was a wonderful read. Hats off to Irving once again for a rich and delectable story...
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sonia Gomes.
308 reviews94 followers
June 6, 2021
What can I say about this beautiful book?

Only that I wanted to stroke its pages...

Only that it brought a lump in my throat that is always there whenever I think of it.
Profile Image for Bill.
929 reviews301 followers
February 1, 2008
I started the Cider House Rules after giving up on 3 novels that just couldn't hold my attention.
John Irving will certainly make you love reading again. The Cider House Rules is once again a novel rich with characters so real you forget this is fiction and you care about what happens to them.
Why can I only say that about a mere handful of writers?

This is a novel about abortion in the 1940s. The dilemmas of abortion are obvious, and this novel does lean towards pro-choice. I think pro-lifers would be well advised to save themselves the ordeal, but
that really is too bad since they would miss out on a wonderful read. John Irving is a master writing about the human condition, and given the setting of an orphanage, unwanted children, an elderly ether-addicted doctor, this is every bit as great as you would expect it to be.

If you find yourself in the same place I was, where you just can't seem find interest in reading anymore, pick this one up and get to know some wonderful (and not so wonderful) people.
Profile Image for Lisa.
124 reviews54 followers
August 7, 2022
Believe it of not, I didn't know the plot of this book before I dove in. I feel like I should have had some idea given the popularity of the book and the Academy Award winning movie adaptation, not to mention (as I learned) the somewhat controversial nature of the themes. I pulled it out of my to-read pile because I was looking for a well-written, engaging fiction novel, and I felt like John Irving would be able to deliver on these requirements. He definitely did, but this also ended up being a really timely read given the recent US Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The story takes place in the World War II era and is a coming of age story of the orphan Homer Wells. Homer Wells grows up in an orphanage under the father-like care of Dr. Wilbur Larch, an obstetrician who is also a secret abortion provider. It is important for Homer Wells to be "of use" so he trains as a medical assistant under Dr. Larch, but their relationship is strained due to their differing views on abortion. Even after Homer Wells leaves the orphanage to pursue a path away from obstetrics, complex situations surrounding unwanted pregnancies, a patient's choice, and the need for abortions continue to follow him throughout his adult life which causes him to constantly reassess his beliefs on the subject.

John Irving is a masterful and imaginative storyteller, and The Cider House Rules is no exception. Given the central themes of the book, I found this to be a really thought-provoking read, but it was also fun and profoundly engaging. And the book comes with the cast of colorful, eccentric characters that are expected of John Irving. It's the reason I keep come back to his books. From the main characters to the orphans and nurses to the patients, there's all kinds of whimsy and neurosis and vivid backstories to keep you on your toes. I loved them all, but I admit I was a little surprised when I finished the book and realized that Melony, a strong female orphan with a very challenging personality, had become one of my favorite characters.

Clearly, I was not disappointed in my choice to finally read this one, and this story is going to stick with me for awhile. I will always keep coming back to Irving for his fantastic storytelling and unforgettable characters.
Profile Image for Christopher Green.
110 reviews1 follower
July 25, 2017
I really can't stand John Irving's style of writing. This was a six hundred page novel that should have been three hundred. Also, I found it to be a little heavy-handed. He admits that it is deliberately didactic, but I think he pushes it the the point that it starts working against him. Any character opposing his ideals is put up as a two-dimensional straw man that he villainizes and knocks down, which doesn't help convince anyone of his views. I was surprised to learn that he wrote the screenplay for the film, which I thought was excellent. If he had employed half the discretion or subtley in the novel that he did in the film it would be a great book. As it is I found it tedious and self-indulgent.
Profile Image for Celia.
1,192 reviews152 followers
August 22, 2020
Maine 1920's - 1950's.

St. Cloud's Maine is a little burg with a paper mill and an orphanage. The paper mill closes down and the orphanage is all that is left. Dr. Larch runs the orphanage and feels that he is 'of use' because he helps women either bear their child and leave it at the orphanage or give them a safe abortion.

Homer Wells is one of the orphans. 4 attempts are made to adopt him. None work out so he comes back to the orphanage to stay. Larch trains him to be a midwife. Homer can deliver a baby, but does not believe in performing an abortion himself. He believes in choice,though, which is quite ironic.

Most of the action takes place in St Cloud's, but 15 years of the action takes place at the Ocean View Orchards in Heart's Haven Maine. The Worthingtons own the Orchards. Wally is their son who loves the local beauty, Candy Kendall. Candy becomes pregnant and they find their way to St Cloud's. There they meet Homer and Homer leaves the orphanage to go to work at the Orchard.

Another major character is Melony. She too is an orphan. She exacts a promise from Homer to never leave her at the orphanage alone. She cares for Homer but the feelings are not returned. He obviously breaks his promise.

The themes of this book are quite compelling. The major theme of The Cider House Rules is that individuals define their own rules by which to act and live despite societal dictates. In the case of this novel, these rules contextualize the difficult issue of abortion.

John Irving has written so many GREAT novels with well-drawn characters and thought provoking themes. The Cider House Rules is obviously one of his best.

5 stars
Profile Image for Marc.
3,067 reviews1,086 followers
March 16, 2019
In our daily live we’re constantly confronted with rules, conventions, and arrangements; a lot of them are formal (laws or coded regulations), but most are informal. It is a very important part of a process of growing up to get to know these rules and learn to cope with them. It is also a never ending job, because the rules constantly change, as there is a lot of contradiction between them, but especially as people tend to disregard the rules and live their own lives. Even more, it is almost impossible not to break or “bend" any rule, and sometimes a life is built upon the decision to deliberately go against the rules.

In essence, this is what this novel is about. ‘The rules of the cider house’ are the admonitions that are listed on a paper, in the house of the black pickers in an apple-orchard in the American state Maine. The illiterate men do not understand the list, but follow their own set of rules and cope with their difficult situation; for example: “a little violence between them is acceptable, but not so much that authorities have to come in”. It takes a while for the main character of the novel, Homer Wells, to become aware of this situation. Homer grew up in an orphanage, run by the stubborn and unruly doctor Larch. Larch is specialized in deliveries and abortions, combining this “Work of the Lord” with a growing ether-addiction. He trains his favorite orphan Homer to do deliveries and he becomes a surrogate father for him; though Homer refuses to do abortions because for him fetuses have souls, he does not contest the right of women to a free choice; in other words, he’s wrestling with the rules and making his own choices.

After some twists and turns Homer ends up in the Maine orchard, gets entangled in a kind of love triangle and as a result has a son; in these human relations also there’s a lot of wrestling with the rules (although here Homer prefers to “wait and see”). But in the end, Homer succeeds in making his own choices, developing his own rules.

I had some trouble getting through the first third of the novel because Irving only very slowly puts the pieces of the puzzle on the table, but after that moment the story and the main characters captivate you and never let you go. I was happy that the classic Irving-ingredients (bears and other circus-elements, sudden events that change the whole setting) were not included; only the iconic doctor Larch and the violent orphan Melony introduce some absurd-hilaric elements. In this sense, this novel is far more homogeneous than Irvings other books; and consequently, this gives the message (about the rules) more power. A special note deserves Irvings militant view on the question of abortion: the author does not conceal his pro-choice-stand, although he describes the medical interventions with such detail, which could shock some readers. But, even here he leaves room for other points of view.

On top of that there is the ever present wisdom, the very mild, tolerant way to judge people’s actions, the comical situations… Typical Irving, I guess. I really loved to read this novel.
Profile Image for Tanabrus.
1,840 reviews160 followers
January 7, 2023
Mi sono avvicinato a questo libro senza saperne assolutamente niente. L'unica cosa che sapevo era che ne era stato fatto un film, che mi pare fosse stato passato spesso in TV ma che non avevo mai visto.

È stata quindi una sorpresa scoprire che il libro ruotava intorno a un orfanatrofio nel Maine, al suo direttore (il dottor Larch) che oltre a occuparsi degli orfani offriva anche gratuitamente aborti a chi li richiedesse, malgrado l'illegalità della cosa, e ovviamente a Homer Wells, uno degli orfani.
Un orfano che il destino voleva rifiutato da tutte le famiglie adottive e quindi destinato a rimanere all'istituto, dove si sarebbe occupato dei bambini più piccoli e sarebbe diventato l'assistente di Larch.

Homer che poi "prende il volo", spinto dal dottore (una figura più paterna di molti genitori) a seguire una giovane coppia benestante giunta lì in cerca di aiuto.
La storia di amicizia e amore con Wally e Candy è complicata e dolorosa, con diversi "colpi di scena" non propriamente imprevedibili che però non guastano la lettura.

La condizione di orfano e la vita nell'orfanotrofio, la questione etica dell'aborto (il lavoro di Dio e il lavoro del Diavolo), la lealtà e l'amicizia, il rimorso e la colpa.
La condizione delle persone di colore nel Maine nel secondo dopoguerra.
Mister Rose con il suo lavoro di coltello, la giovane Rose Rose calamita di uomini e guai.
Angel Wells, con la sua vita idilliaca e improbabile.
Il patriottismo idealista di Wally.
Il dottor Stone.

Molte tematiche che erano attuali negli anni cinquanta-sessanta-settanta, e che assurdamente restano oltremodo attuali pure adesso.

Un libro lento e vasto, che parte piano ma che poi entra sotto la pelle.
Profile Image for Negin.
608 reviews151 followers
June 4, 2015
I really, really wanted to like this book, and I thought it was very good initially, but the more I read, the less I liked it. Unlike many others, the subject matter (abortion) didn’t bother me at all. What bothered me was an overall lack of connection with the characters and the fact that I honestly felt that this more than 600 page book was never going to end! I think that he could have written this in 300 pages or less. I found myself frequently checking to see how much there was left to read.
One thing that annoys me quite a bit with Irving is his obsession with weight, specifically, with regards to women and weight. It seems to be a major issue with him. I don’t like that sort of crap at all. Many years ago, I read a terrible book by him, “The 158-Pound Marriage”, named after one of the characters who weighed the “dreaded” 158-pounds. How could she?! Quelle horreur! To be that obese! The story line for that one was the absolute worst – about two couples who swapped partners, swingers basically.
I’m giving it two stars, because I feel a wee bit generous and because I have to be honest in that I liked it at first.
Profile Image for dely.
433 reviews225 followers
February 21, 2017
The book started really very well. I liked the first part, I had also a lot of laugh-out-loud moments and I was curious to see what would happen next. I was totally in the story and also liked the characters, they were all so particular and eccentric. But going on with the reading I get bored by the story and, above all, by the characters. These never changed, they always said the same things and behaved the same way. It is as if they didn't have a development: they were the same from the beginning of the book till the end, at least 30 years later. Also, from the second part of the story every event and every behaviour of the characters was predictable. I already could foresee what would happen and what they would have done. Maybe the only character that had a small change in her personality and that surprised me was Melony. I arrived at the end of the book that I had enough of the characters and their lives.
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