I've never seen the movie, so I was approaching this book with a clean slate. Now I can't wait to rent it, because I'm dying to see whether the film brings this story to life in a way that matches the world that was created in my head.
Cider House Rules is somewhat of a commitment... you're tracing Doctor Larch and Homer Wells from their most formative years throughout their lives...and it's worth every minute. The subject matter (abortion, orphans, Alzheimer's) is pretty heavy, but you emerge from the experience feeling that you've grappled with some of the elephants you needed to tackle anyway. I'm not saying that listening to this audiobook will tell you whether or not you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned...just that it's great to be enveloped in a story that touches on the undercurrents running through our shared experiences. In addition, great, believable characters and a narrator perfectly suited to the material.
Even a passing interest in the art world would make this book worthy of your time. The only problem I had was with the narrator. I downloaded it quickly and on a recommendation, not looking at who was reading the audio. I had expected an English person, given both the subject and the general ubiquity of British accents in the world of audiobooks. Instead, it turned out to be an American woman...which would be completely fine, if she hadn't totally disregarded the whole "thriller" aspect of the story. The book is nonfiction, but it's plotted like a suspenseful novel. The narrator ran flatly through chapter-endings that were clearly intended to be cliffhangers, and the effect was a little off-putting.
The book is certainly worth a try, though! Might just be a little better in written form.
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