I just finished this audiobook and I am recommending it to everyone I know! The characters are engaging and the story moves at the perfect pace.
The story's main character Henry House was neither irresistible or charming. It was difficult to develop any positive feelings, understanding or sympathy for any of the characters in the book.
I love Grunwald's story structure, marrying Henry's life with historic and cultural moments, including society's movement away from the very mindset that was the basis for his early life. Unfortunately, I didn't fully feel invested in the main character's development; I worry the author was so intent on making Henry seem understandably detached from others that she protected his inner self (and, therefore, most interesting emotions) even from her readers. The audiobook narrator seems to me an intriguing mix between Casey Kasem and David McCullough, which lends to the story an appropriate blend of romance, whimsy and relevance but in its own way contributes to the emotional stiffness. I am glad I listened, even if I wish the main character were a little more accessible to the reader/listener.
Henry House is, actually, quite resistible. The idea presented at the beginning -- that Henry, like many others, is an orphaned child who starts his life as the "practice baby" for students in a college home economics program -- seemed very clever. However, the book falls off from there. The rest of the story is a very dull account of him going through life. Given it takes place in the 50's and 60's, and there's plenty of sex and drugs, you'd think that would help the tempo of the story, but somehow even those aspects of his life seem blah. Plus, his general indifference to everyone around him makes him an unsympathetic character. I almost didn't finish the book, but I kept thinking that something was going to happen to make it better. It probably would have seemed like less of a slog with a less monotonous narrator, but even the best of narrators would have had a tough time with this material.
Two hours in and I had to give it up. I don't mind slow (just finished A Prayer for Owen Meany and that probably redefines 'slow' but found it an excellent book) but the tedious got to me.
However, this is not to say that, had I lasted the distance, I would have been able to write a more positive review.
Always reading. Audiobooks in the car, in the kitchen, in the sewing room, and paper books in every room in the house.
This book caught my imagination and carried through with great humor, wonderful visuals of the era of 50's and 60's and compelling characters. The story line was interesting, too. I was thoroughly entertained.
No - I enjoyed it the first time but it's not as if I feel I would gain better insight the next time. I felt the story was easy to follow and so lended itself well to an audio book.
Yes - as a departure from my sci-fi reading this book was a nice change of pace.
I've never listened to Oliver Whyman before but I enjoyed his characterizations.
I enjoyed the first time I listened to this book but probably won't listen to it again.
Cider House Rules
The range of voices this reader can do is impressive.
I don't know if I would like to visit with any of these quirky characters.