Customer Reviews for

The Cider House Rules

Average Rating 4.5
( 147 )
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(94)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

23 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

The Cider House Rules...

This is a heavy-hearted novel. The dreams and wishes go unfulfilled for most of the characters. The Cider House Rules takes place mostly between the 1930's and 1950's. It's about rules. It's about how society has rules for people but those rules aren't always the right ...
This is a heavy-hearted novel. The dreams and wishes go unfulfilled for most of the characters. The Cider House Rules takes place mostly between the 1930's and 1950's. It's about rules. It's about how society has rules for people but those rules aren't always the right rules. This is a story about Dr. Wilbur Larch, the "saint" of St. Cloud's, the head of an orphanage and an abortionist in a time when abortions are illegal. But it's even more about Homer Wells, an orphan who is never adopted and becomes a sort of son to Dr. Larch. This novel touches on some delicate issues besides abortion: incest, interracial relationships, lesbianism, child and spousal abuse and ether addiction. I really like the writing style which makes The Cider House Rules a good read. The content of the book is deep. The characters are believable and Irving provides a lot of background. I will absolutely be looking forward to reading other John Irving books in the near future!

posted by songcatchers on October 25, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Book is overated...see the movie!

THe plot of Cider House Rules was quite random, but pulled together nicely by the author John Irving. The story takes place in a Maine orpanhage founded by Dr. Larch. Larch has to deal with the controversial issue of abortion, but after seeing women die, some of whom he...
THe plot of Cider House Rules was quite random, but pulled together nicely by the author John Irving. The story takes place in a Maine orpanhage founded by Dr. Larch. Larch has to deal with the controversial issue of abortion, but after seeing women die, some of whom he could have saved, he decided the women has the right to choose. Whether they want an orphan or an abortion it is up to them. Homer, an orphan raised at ST. CLouds, leaves when he is ld enough to explore the world. He chooses a life of apple and cider making, and enjoys the simplicity of life...only having to follow the simple cider house rules nailed on the door. He soon finds out why Dr. Larch had tried to keep him at St. CLouds for so long. After problems with the girl he loves, his bestfriend, and also witnessing first hand the cruelties of life. He returns to St. Clouds no longer innocent and accepting they woman's right to choose. THe story is interesting, althought John Irving's writing style is very cluttered and he seems to talk way to much. My words of advice are, see the movie instead.

posted by Anonymous on May 19, 2003

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  • Posted October 25, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    The Cider House Rules...

    This is a heavy-hearted novel. The dreams and wishes go unfulfilled for most of the characters. The Cider House Rules takes place mostly between the 1930's and 1950's. It's about rules. It's about how society has rules for people but those rules aren't always the right rules. This is a story about Dr. Wilbur Larch, the "saint" of St. Cloud's, the head of an orphanage and an abortionist in a time when abortions are illegal. But it's even more about Homer Wells, an orphan who is never adopted and becomes a sort of son to Dr. Larch. This novel touches on some delicate issues besides abortion: incest, interracial relationships, lesbianism, child and spousal abuse and ether addiction. I really like the writing style which makes The Cider House Rules a good read. The content of the book is deep. The characters are believable and Irving provides a lot of background. I will absolutely be looking forward to reading other John Irving books in the near future!

    23 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2009

    The Cider House Rules - A Must Read

    I loved this book, and its seemingly complex webs of human interaction and simple cause and effect.
    Cider House Rules is not for those who lazily skip lines to get to the finish quicker, or those that cringe at frank exploration of taboo subjects, for in the moments one least expects it, Irving exposes some of the most important themes in his novels.
    What I might possibly love most about Irving's writing is the manner in which he develops his story and the characters along with it. The books starts off with some knowledge about the protagonists that seems a bit insignificant, though shocking, as the middle section of the novel rolls around (there is admittedly a rather long exposition which very carefully evolves into rising action).
    Throughout the novel readers learn about different characters' complicated backgrounds, which force us to sympathize with them. It's virtually impossible to choose sides in this novel - which is one of the major facts of life the characters have to learn to live with; that there really is no black and white, right or wrong, lord or devil's work (in reference to Larch's secondary, though no less important, job at the orphanage).
    Another major theme in the novel is that no matter how much you may love someone, that's "all you can do" - you can't force them to love you back, you can't protect them - you can only love them. When I realized that this is in fact true of the world I further embraced Irving's genius at the most unsubtle and blunt manner in which he explores such a paradox.
    The third major theme, which is executed brilliantly through the use of an orphanage as the central setting, is one to do with belonging and destiny. Larch belongs at the orphanage, though he is not an orphan, and he doesn't mind. He believes that nobody should belong to an orphanage, but eventually comes to the conclusion that Homer does. Homer believes he belongs at the orphanage, until he decides he likes his life at the orchard. However, it seems that Larch (as a sort of 'god' figure) has decided on the course of history, and Larch's 'history' ends up becoming the only history.
    As I have shown, this novel explores (rather psychologically and twistedly) the roles of all sorts of people and how each character's history twines with another's.
    An exceptionally profound read, this novel is sure to knock just about anyone's socks off.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2004

    One of the best stories I've ever read!

    I saw the movie before I read the book. Then, when I read the book, I felt even more connected with Homer Wells. I never read anything by John Irving before, but it's definately something I could not put down! If you've seen the movie, read the book. You won't regret it!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Cider House Rules

    The Cider House Rules satisfies those who look for a unique plot as well as those seeking intriguing characters. Since the storyline follows the fascinating lives of Dr. Larch and Homer Wells from the very beginning, the reader comes to feel as though he has known these figures his entire life. The book essentially covers three generations, accentuating the differences and similarities between fathers and sons, and providing intimate detail as to why the characters act and feel the way that they do. The book is extremely sociological in that it dissects each individual character's thoughts and feelings, relating them to the people around the character and the things the character has witnessed. Anyone who enjoys the complex interactions between people and their surroundings will appreciate The Cider House Rules. John Irving delves deeper into each character's mind than most other authors, giving the reader a special sense of sympathy and understanding for each.

    The plot of The Cider House Rules also presents several thought provoking issues. Firstly, since Homer Wells grows up in an orphanage, he is constantly searching for a place where he belongs. Many readers can relate to this plight. Also, Irving thoroughly discusses the place of sex in society. Dr. Larch is completely abstinent, and Homer must figure out the role of sex in his own life. This issue, along with those such as the morality and legality of abortion, and the effects of racism, makes The Cider House Rules an excellent piece to discuss in a group.

    The Cider House Rules provides insight into controversial issues and addresses universal topics, making it an outstanding book for mature readers. Anyone younger than 16 should probably wait to read The Cider House Rules since the content may not be appropriate for young readers. However, Irving's style of writing is not difficult to comprehend, making the book easy to read, but full of profound ideas. At the end of The Cider House Rules, readers will be eager to get their hands on another of John Irving's books.

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2012

    BN please filter reviews no more sick stuff

    Someone needs some help with pedophilia problems

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2006

    a classic for the 20th century

    I read this novel in high school at the time when I was trying to discover 'adult books'. This book changed the way I viewed the world of adults. As a sheltered 14 yr old, I never knew such complexities existed. I was immediately drawn into the world of Homer. Irving described such rich characters that their 'voices' have stayed with me through my college years. It is a book that you never want to forget.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2006

    This the the book of a lifetime...everyone should read it

    This is both my favorite John Irving novel, and one of my favorite novels overall. This is a beautifully constructed story about relationships and love. The love in this book occurs between parents and children, lovers, colleagues, children and adults, and friends. Each element of love and each relationships's flaws and tribulations are essential elements of this story. Some people may be offended by the abortion-related themes in the book, but I found them essential to explaining the rules of society and how those rules can be stretched to accomodate choice and individual circumstances. Please read this book with an open mind and heart.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2005

    Great book i hope you have time to read it

    The Cider House Rules is a must read for any aspiring author. I have never read an author who has such a brilliant gift for exposition. By the time the exposition is over you love the characters and it hooks you for the rest of the book. I have never read a 600 page book this fast. I object to the notion many people say that this is a coming of age novel. Coming of age means 16-25 not 1-50 this is a life novel. This is a human novel and very realistic. The Characters are a mix of good and bad, all of them. This is the first book I read of Irving and I have already bought another one of his books yesterday. My only objection of the book is that it deals with abortion way to much. It did clarify however, why some people are pro-choice. Your position on that subject will be entrenched after you read it though. Overall, an excellent novel and I would recommend it to anyone. It takes you away to another time and place which is slower and more interesting which is always a good thing. If you don¿t have the time to read it don¿t pick it up or you will be hooked and totally neglect anyone around you.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2003

    Book is overated...see the movie!

    THe plot of Cider House Rules was quite random, but pulled together nicely by the author John Irving. The story takes place in a Maine orpanhage founded by Dr. Larch. Larch has to deal with the controversial issue of abortion, but after seeing women die, some of whom he could have saved, he decided the women has the right to choose. Whether they want an orphan or an abortion it is up to them. Homer, an orphan raised at ST. CLouds, leaves when he is ld enough to explore the world. He chooses a life of apple and cider making, and enjoys the simplicity of life...only having to follow the simple cider house rules nailed on the door. He soon finds out why Dr. Larch had tried to keep him at St. CLouds for so long. After problems with the girl he loves, his bestfriend, and also witnessing first hand the cruelties of life. He returns to St. Clouds no longer innocent and accepting they woman's right to choose. THe story is interesting, althought John Irving's writing style is very cluttered and he seems to talk way to much. My words of advice are, see the movie instead.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2009

    Good Book!

    I give this book as a graduation gift almost every year. I got it as a gift when I graduated and have been passing it to others ever since.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2005

    Cider House Rules doesn't rule

    I read the whole book only because I wanted to give it a chance and maybe the ending would have saved everything else. There were some very good parts, but I recommand you don't read this book if: you are pregnant// you had a miscarriage or an abortion //you are eating, as many descriptions are very graphic, however accurate they may be.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2004

    One of the greatest American novels.

    I revisited 'The Cider House Rules' recently, just before picking up another of John Irving's earlier novels, and I again recalled before I reached page 25 what it was about Irving and this novel that made me fall in love with his writing. 'The Cider House Rules' is an epic, Dickensian story, a didactic old-fashioned tale of love and loss that speaks to both the most basic human dilemmas and contentious contemporary subjects. Irving writes with an absurdist aplomb that causes me to find myself laughing when I would never expect to, and cry soon thereafter; his character Homer Wells is a delight, winsome and true. 'The Cider House Rules' is an exquisite novel, and one of the greatest achievements in American letters. I can recommend no book any higher.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2002

    Boring, boring, boring.......

    John Irving has written some good books, but this wasn't one of them. Boring, no surprises, could hardly wait until it ended, so I could go on to a good book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2013

    Engaging Plot Masterfully Crafted

    John Irving writes like no one else. His characters' voices have a cadence that gets in your head and you'll find yourself hearing them even after you've set the book aside. Irving is such a talented writer that he can put more into a sentence than most authors can in two paragraphs. "The coastal winds gave the brittle orchard such a shaking that the clashing trees resembled frozen soldiers in all the postures of saber-rattling, but Olive had heard so many years of this season that she never knew a war was coming." Your only regret about reading this book is that when it's over you'll know that the next book you read will never be as good. Unless, of course, you read another Irving.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2012

    Be prepared for vulgarity

    This book seemed to take a long time to read. It was quite graphic in certain places and overall much too vulgur for my tastes. In my opinion, the movie was much better than the book. Even when critical points in the book were changed the movie was better because of it. Good thing this book was only two bucks or I would have been mad.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2005

    A delight!

    This book seemed never-ending, but when it was finally over I found myself wanting more after connecting with the characters and the surroundings. The only disappointing part was watching the movie after reading the book. The movie was nothing compared to the wonderful, descriptive, and heartfelt novel. It just left so much out that is imperative for a great story. If I had watched the movie beforehand I might not have even picked up the book. It was a good storyline (the film) but compared to the book it was nothing. I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a great story that you can really enjoy. This is the first John Irving novel I¿ve read and I¿ve heard that it is not one of his best but it definitely has me wanting more. I loved this story and I¿m excited to know that there are better works by Irving that I absolutely plan to read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2004

    Great Book to Inspire Anyone

    The Cider House rules is an awesome book to read. It's an exciting journey that Homer Wills took. The story is a never ending journey of who one is meant to do in this world. The story can inspire those who are lost in this world, and need a guidance in their lives. I surely recommend this book to everywhere. A true blessing to have such a wonderful author with such joy to write stories!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2004

    Maybe it's just because i've read so many of Irving's books

    The Cider House Rules was the fourth Irving book I've read, and I've realized that all of his books are very, very similar! They're all set in NH (which isn't really a surprise since Irving himself is from there), they are all coming-of-age novels about a young kid from New England who departs on a journey of self-discovery, etc, etc. I'm sure that if this was my first Irving book I would have given it 5 stars, but I'm sorry to say that John Irving's books have lost their novelty. The story was also pretty unrealistic (keeping a secret for 15 years? Homer retaining all that medical information after everything he had been through?). So far, it was the least enjoyable Irving novel I've encountered.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2004

    Best book I have read so far

    Although I have not read too many books in my life, I thoroughly enjoyed this book by far. Irving has a wonderful imagination that he details so great. The Cider House Rules had me constantly thinking and questioning what would happen to each character. The way you are left hanging at each interval made me not want to put the book down. I will definately read another book by him if not more than that.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2004

    awesome book read it

    I loved the book the whole time I was reading it. Like some books I read I get bored in reading them when it is in the middle of the book, but this book The Cider House Rules I did not get bored at all. This was the most interesting and funniest book I have ever read in my life! With that I would tell you that The Cider House Rules is a great book to read if you wanted to read a book it keeps you in the book the whole time you read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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