I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.
Only John Irving could have written this book, and Grover Gardner is the perfect narrator for it. The story of Homer Wells, Wilbur Larch and the other characters is told beautifully, and with the flare and detail that made Garp such a wonderful and unique book. Irving manages to include the controversial topic of abortion by weaving it in as the central conflict between the two characters, just as it has been a major conflict in society at large. The romance among Homer, Wally and Candy is extremely well-done. Irving never takes the easy way out, even though he knows that readers always want the guy to get the girl in the end. The descriptions of places in Maine are authoritative and the details of medical practice are precise, reflecting the fact that Irving's grandfather did this work. The tale of the apple orchard are rich and true. The stories of the crew are painfully true. The book covers a long historical arc, and we get to see how the characters change, grow, and some die in time. You can't guess at a John Irving plot. Although he may at times seem to be going slowly and rambling a bit, he is always going someplace surprising.
Grover Gardner is a narrator with a great voice and a lot of talent. He has excellent inflections and many voices, and you don't disbelieve him for a minute. He holds your interest with every line. I can't imagine another reader doing this work with such empathy for the lives of the characters. This is a treasure of a book. Don't miss it.
After finishing A Prayer for Owen Meany and enjoying it so immensely, I thought I'd try listening to another book by John Irving. I'd read The World According to Garp several years ago, but was dissuaded after reading so many negative reviews of the audible version. There were many positive reviews for Cider House Rules, so I gave it a go. I remember enjoying the book when I'd first read it and enjoyed the movie as well.
It's a really good book. The story is very unique, with many components that make you think about things you wouldn't normally, i.e. the life of an orphan, people with convictions so strong that their lives are centered around them, the many different types of relationships that exist and some of the not so common ways people express love. I appreciated the technical medical details of obstetrics and also enjoyed one character's perspective of WWII. The topics of pregnancy, abortion and adoption were much more intriguing for me this time, not having been a mother when I first read the book.
It's a great piece of writing, but does not entertain as much as Garp or Owen Meany. I guess I'm forever spoiled! The narration was good, though the narrator sounded a bit like he was speaking in the 1950's or 60's. You may enjoy this book more if you haven't already read (what I consider to be) Irving's best.
Books worth the money are those biographies about our Founding Fathers. Or THE LONG WALK and/or UNBROKEN Try THE LONG WALK a
For those who enjoy play-by-play descriptions of before and after babies are aborted, this book is for you.
A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY it ain't. But OB/GYN residents are sure to enjoy hearing about the how and why of abortions -- over and over again.
Yogi Berra might say: "It ain't over and it don't seem like it ever will be." .
As is typical with Irving, this takes a little while to warm up. But once all the characters and settings have been introduced it's such a great story. Highly recommended.
A good story, started out slowly but picked up steadily throughout. Author is a little dry and maybe that fits the setting in Maine. I enjoyed the narrator.
This was my first purchase from Audible and I mostly purchased it for its length. I wanted to listen while I walked. Well, I not only walked for miles, I couldn't wait to get out there and walk! In fact, many times when I went out for a mile I would do two because I just wanted to hear more!
I have enjoyed other Irving a lot, and Cider House Rules was the best. Yes, it is a long, drawn-out story, but I had trouble pausing. The character development is wonderful--unlike Garp, these are all possibly real characters (the Notes at the end lead one to believe they are strongly based in reality). The narrator also does a wonderful job, getting the black, Maine, Asian & British dialects quite believably right.
I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.
John Irving gave us all a gift by consecutively writing four of the greatest novels in American history: The World According to Garp (1978), The Hotel New Hampshire (1981), The Cider House Rules (1985) and A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989). It is not that Irving has failed his readership since 1989, but the novels listed above represent the historic height of any author’s powers. Cider House is a must read novel for any lover of serious fiction. Irving is a master story teller and effortlessly weaves together socially significant themes into morally complex human dilemmas without sounding too preachy or erudite. The novel has a natural flow that permits the reader to evaluate complex human interactions and perplexities they otherwise would not experience.
Why should you read Cider House? 1) Cider House is an engaging and beautiful story about human motivation, child development, and lasting friendships, 2) Irving will challenge your belief system relative to abortion, family, and breaking the law for a social good, 3) You are reading a great author at the height of his writing powers, and 4) Cider House is just that good of a novel and better than the 1999 movie.
I wouldn't call this Great Literature: I doubt if I'd consider reading it again, for instance. But it is still first rate literary entertainment. I especially like Irving's wry humour. The narration is very good.
My second favorite Irving book. (Owen Meany, #1.) Anyone who thinks abortion is a black and white issue should read this book. It is as relevant to today as it would be to the time about which it was written.
A beautiful, emotional novel.