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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 (785 )
5 star
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Story
4.4 (459 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 07-02-07
    Patti Chittenango, NY, United States 07-02-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful"

    As often happens in my reading, I am curious of how the title was chosen. Although the Cider House and their rules were significant to this story, the orphanage was much more central to its theme. Regardless, this was wonderful to listen to.

    I have not read anything of John Irving's before. And if it weren't for the movie getting such high praise, I probably would not have read this one. But I am glad I did. The characters are wonderful. I did not have trouble following who is who despite the large number of people introduced into the tale.

    The subject sounds a bit more controversial, to be sure, than it is. But it is presented powerfully simple. I am pro-life, but I am also a nurse and need to offer all options. Just because I do not agree with abortion doesn't mean I rule over you. I can only hope there is a place like this one for those who need it.

    The atrocities presented in this tale are numerous: class differences, prejudices, addictions, harsh realities of life all of them. But they are told in such a way that they are neither repulsive nor shocking.

    And I did see the movie after listening to this. I am amazed it was rated so high, as it should be banned for desecrating such a wonderful tale. This selection is well worth your time and money.

    27 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Hamtramck, MI, USA 09-01-06
    Christopher Hamtramck, MI, USA 09-01-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Captures the magic of Owen Meanie"

    Ah, does Irving have the power to move me... If you are a militant pro-lifer, you should probably stay away-- although I would love for you to read this to help you understand why there needs to be a separation of church and state. Never predictable, narrated well, characters both flawed and thought-provoking, and a plot that moves right along, this book itself is a "prince of Maine", a "king of New England."

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Norwalk, CT, United States 03-04-05
    Christopher Norwalk, CT, United States 03-04-05 Member Since 2004
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    "As good as it gets"

    The story "The Cider House Rules" has the potential to go down in history as an all time classic. If my great grandchildren are reading this book along with the works of Charles Dickens and John Steinbeck, I wouldn't be surprised.
    John Irving is admittedly one of my favorite writers. His ability to tell epic stories about rich, interesting characters is unrivaled in our time. I will never forget the time I spent with Homer, Melony, Dr. Larch, Fuzzy, Candy, and all the others.
    Though other authors can write wonderfully engrossing books with thick plots and unexpected twists, nobody can match John Irving for introducing you to real people and making you a part of their lives.
    I've read 5 of J.I.'s works, all of which moved me and made me a fuller person. "The Cider House Rules" was undoubtedly the best.
    Grover Gardner does a woderful job with his distinctive voice. He walks a brilliant line between lending credibility to his characters, but not stealing the show. His understated way of narrating/acting was perfect for this book.
    For the rest of my life, I'll be on the lookout for the next "The Cider House Rules." Since a work of art like this comes along so rarely, don't you miss it.

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 02-05-12
    Richard Delman San Francisco 02-05-12 Member Since 2006

    65 y/o father of two sons. Married 25 yrs. Audible member for 8 yrs. I can hardly read books with my eyes any more. I love reviewing.

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    "Both Irving and Gardner are great."

    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.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Lowell, MI, USA 12-27-08
    Katherine Lowell, MI, USA 12-27-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent"

    I've read/heard much from John Irving, and this one finally overtook Owen Meany as my favorite. I was unimpressed with the main character at first...stick with him. Rarely have I thought back to a novel as often as I've considered this one. Compassionate to both sides of the abortion debate, it's a good book even if you have already decided on your stance.

    Also, the voice of the narrator is lively enough that I didn't find my attention drifting, as it sometimes does...

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence Chicago, IL, USA 09-29-05
    Lawrence Chicago, IL, USA 09-29-05 Member Since 2004
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    "An Engrossing Listen"

    A compelling story of an orphan and an orphanage where the residing doctor(obstetrician)does the "Lord's work" and the "Devil's work", although it's all the "Lord's work" in the Doctor's and others minds. The story is permeated with a wry sense of humor and well defined, colorful and consistent characters, and interwoven with lots of interesting facts about obstetrics, apple growing and 1920s through 1950s Maine.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Reston, Manitoba, Canada 10-22-11
    Michelle Reston, Manitoba, Canada 10-22-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Wonderful listen"

    I bought this book based on its strong reviews and was not disappointed. I could hardly wait to go for a daily run, just to hear more of the story. This is the first John Irving book I've read but won't be my last.

    The narration is excellent, a little slow paced, but easy to listen to.

    I highly recommend this book.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sara Sonoma, CA, United States 09-09-10
    sara Sonoma, CA, United States 09-09-10 Member Since 2009

    I am very much into post-apocolyptia, as my Dad calls it, but I also just love a good story; from Earth Abides to Art of Racing in The Rain

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Love this book!"

    I saw the movie awhile back and enjoyed it, but after reading the book there is so much left out. This book takes you on a journey through so many lives, and leaves you feeling so close to all the characters. I both laughed and cried while listening to this book. Very much a recommended read!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara Tehachapi, CA, USA 07-17-10
    Sara Tehachapi, CA, USA 07-17-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Full range of emotions"

    A thought provoking listen that covers joy, sorrow, laughter, heartbreak - a full range of emotions. You can't help but fall in love with Homer and all of his short comings. If you have seen the movie, you need to experience the book. Hope you enjoy both as much as I did!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dorthea Brooks Boston, MA 03-18-10
    Dorthea Brooks Boston, MA 03-18-10 Member Since 2005

    rdw959

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    "Interesting and entertaining."

    This book is much deeper than I remembered from reading it years ago and also seeing the movie. Irving creates 3-dimensional characters and places them in a compelling story to examine the question of whether it's better to be unwanted or unborn. Really well done, including the narration.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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