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The Cider House Rules | [John Irving]

The Cider House Rules

From one of America's most beloved and respected writers comes the classic story of Homer Wells, an orphan, and Wilbur Larch, a doctor without children of his own, who develop an extraordinary bond with one another.
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Publisher's Summary

From one of America's most beloved and respected writers comes the classic story of Homer Wells, an orphan, and Wilbur Larch, a doctor without children of his own, who develop an extraordinary bond with one another.

©1985 John Irving; (P)1999 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Witty, tenderhearted, fervent, and scarifying." (New York Times Book Review)

"Gardner understands and conveys the book's sly humor and comprehension of human foibles." (Los Angeles Times)

"John Irving's best novel....He is among the very best storytellers." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1018 )
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Story
4.5 (664 )
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Performance
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  •  
    R. A. Frank cali 02-26-13
    R. A. Frank cali 02-26-13 Member Since 2014
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    "I liked it!"
    What did you love best about The Cider House Rules?

    I think the best part is the solidly built framework of the orphanage. There are many side stories which are great, but this orphanage is thoroughly vetted and the moral issues of the time (and even now) are completely explored. I loved the deviousness of Dr. Larch especially, as a reader I never quite knew what complex web he was weaving. It is a very compelling story from start to finish!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Cider House Rules?

    When the assistant Train Station Master came to the orphanage to pay his last respects to the (deceased) Station Master and came up on Dr. Larch performing the autopsy. All of the events leading up to this made it very entertaining.


    What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

    I just like his reading voice and cadence. I especially liked him in one of my first audio books "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors". He was equally enjoyable here.


    If you could take any character from The Cider House Rules out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Candy's father (forgot his name). He was a lobster trapper but he was rumored to eat hamburgers instead. Very interesting character, he was a tinkerer, an inventor, and near genius in his creativity.


    Any additional comments?

    This is my second Irving book, the first was "Owen Meany". I am now on to "The World according to Garp". I have to say that they have all been very enjoyable. I am a Stephen King fan and these novels are similar in a lot of ways. They are both set in Maine and the New England lifestyle is similarly entrenched in them. I am looking forward to reading more of his books!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura 02-08-13
    Laura 02-08-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Wonderful book"

    At first I had some trouble getting into this book. By the time it was done, I didn't want it to be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Cushing, MN, United States 01-30-13
    Carol Cushing, MN, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2011
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    "I now know why it's a classic!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Cider House Rules the most enjoyable?

    I enjoyed the format of following just a few characters throughout their lives.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Cider House Rules?

    When Homer discovered who had impregnated Angel's girlfriend and how it changed his entire viewpoint of abortions.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Picturing the apple pickers on the roof of the Cider House watching the ferris wheel in the distance and their interpretation of what they were seeing.


    Any additional comments?

    One of my all time favorites!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Westerly, RI, United States 01-22-13
    Janice Westerly, RI, United States 01-22-13
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    "It's difficult getting past several chapters!"
    Would you try another book from John Irving and/or Grover Gardner?

    I love John Irving's books usually. This one is tedious and unbelievable. I fell in love with Owen Meany but not loving anyone in this story


    What could John Irving have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Less medical gore


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Didn't change his voice much per character


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Cider House Rules?

    All the abortion stuff


    Any additional comments?

    I wish the story description would have told that there was an abortion agenda to this writing. I would have chosen not to select it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan 01-19-13
    Jan 01-19-13 Member Since 2011

    Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.

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    "Didn't know what I was buying..."

    and I wouldn't purchase again. It is much more graphic than I am comfortable reading. However, John Irving is a master story teller and I was hooked before knowing what was coming. I couldn't stop listening to this weaving tale of right and wrong, black and white, rules and the varied why of disobediance caused by the murky middleness of life. Well written, symbolic without being blatent, full of complex and very real people. One of the main themes weaving though the book is the issue of abortion, you see it from many points of view... right down to and including looking though a speculum and seeing chunks of fetal tissue. The main character who believes abortion is killing a living soul, eventually becomes an abortionist. The book goes to very uncomfortable areas including incest, spouse abuse, masterbation, affairs, use of condoms, sex with animals, abandonment, pornography, addiction, lesbians and violence. It is not written in a dirty or foul way, rather the innocence and goodness of Homer et al, makes it feel less intense as if he is the buffer. It is a thought provoking book and I understand why the ratings are so high. Just know that it is intense and I wish I could remove some of it from my mind. It is definately not for a young reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia THOUSAND OAKS, CA, United States 01-14-13
    Julia THOUSAND OAKS, CA, United States 01-14-13
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    "A Story That Will Stick With You"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    elaine United States 01-12-13
    elaine United States 01-12-13 Member Since 2011

    I'm an avid audible book listener. I am a huge fan of supernatural books and like stuff that is scary but well written. I live in Denver Co

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    "Fantastic story to revisit"

    I read this book long ago and also saw the movie. I will say that this story is so much more I depth than the movie obviously. Do not pass this book up just because you saw the movie. This story was just a very well done story that moves through decades and just sweeps you along. I hated to have it end..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ProCaptioner Pleasant Grove, UT, US 12-27-12
    ProCaptioner Pleasant Grove, UT, US 12-27-12 Member Since 2012

    Tell us about yourself! I love books! I always have a book. I am reading on my nook for while I am at work, and a book ( or 2) on my iPhone from audible for while I am diving to and from work or cleaning the house.

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    "Sad, funny, thought provoking, great story!"
    If you could sum up The Cider House Rules in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting, thought provoking


    Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

    Wilbur Larch and Homer Wells too hard to choose just one.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I don't have enough time to listen to a book this long all in one sitting but it could have kept my attention for that long.


    Any additional comments?

    I really lived this book. Very well written and the performance was great!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    leighda 12-07-12
    leighda 12-07-12 Member Since 2011

    Audible is the best thing since sliced bread..

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    "One of the best i have listened to.."

    I have a large library of audio and hardcover books. Few have been as well written and thought out as well. If you are sensitive to abortion this may not be the book for you but that is not the focus of the story. I was very impressed by the last few minuites of this story. It is rare to have a story come together so well in the end. Done so well i cried without control.
    I will listen many times im sure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Glens Falls, NY, United States 12-06-12
    Mark Glens Falls, NY, United States 12-06-12 Member Since 2014
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    "The Cider House Rules"
    What made the experience of listening to The Cider House Rules the most enjoyable?

    First off, I really love audible.com. I work 2 jobs and don't have a lot of time for reading which I love to do. With audible I can listen even while I'm at work which helps me get through those long lonely night shifts. It seems to make my job more tolerable, even enjoyable, and I never thought I'd say that.
    Novels such as The Cider House Rules are what make John Irving one of my favorite authors, a master storyteller who approaches his themes from various angles. Like so many of his novels, you wish it would never end. You become so attached to the characters and the settings that you wish you could just keep going back at least for a little while every day, and when its over you almost feel the same as if you'd lost an old friend. The narration by Grover Gardner is solid. The characters, especially Dr. Larch came to life magnificently.


    What other book might you compare The Cider House Rules to and why?

    There are not really too many books I've read that I can fairly compare it to, although Irving's writing and storytelling prowess often remind me of a more modern Dickens. And as as always, he is fearless, unabashed, and uncompromising in his subject matter.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I thought overall he did an excellent job, especially with the character of Dr. Larch. There is a very little to find fault with.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Everytime Dr Larch wrote a passage in "A Brief History Of S.T. Clouds that began with "Here at S.T. Clouds... Also enjoyed the part where Melanie was asked to read from Jane Eyre to her bunkmates in the cider house and she kept getting interrupted with questions about what the big words meant. Reminded me of when I used to read aloud to my kids, back when they still let me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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