The Book Review: The Cider House Rules by James Irving.

Hello and Happy Sunday!

“What is hardest to accept about the passage of time is that the people who once mattered the most to us wind up in parentheses. “Goodnight you princes of Maine, you kings of New England.”

The Cider House Rules was my first novel by John Irving and kept me speechless when I finished it. I love those times when a book keeps my interest and makes me stay up all night to discover more or even finish it. At points I was totally immersed in Homer Wells’s world because of the very persuasive tone Irving used. 

Dr. Wilbur Larch is a physician and director at St. Cloud’s Orphanage in Maine and raised Homer Wells from birth. I first could not believe everything Irving talked about when he explained about orphans, adoption, abortions and certain rules in those times that did apply to troubled mothers who were in need of help – help with illegal abortions, deliveries or giving the babies away to the orphanage for adoption right after birth. Homer Wells, who received his name by Dr. Larch, has been places with families several times; however, something always went wrong and they brought him back to the orphanage. Either he cried to little, cried too much – he ended up back with Dr. Wilbur Larch. 

“Being afraid you’ll look like a coward is the worst reason for doing anything.”

As Homer grew older, Dr. Larch meticulously trained and made him his assistant. Homer learned and understood more and more about pregnancies, which made him eventually stop helping Dr. Larch with abortions. Homer left  the orphanage when a young couple came to visit Dr. Larch to determinate their unexpected pregnancy. They told him about an apple orchard where they work and enjoy life close by the ocean. Initially, Homer wants to stay for a week or two to learn about orchard work and life. He stayed longer to discover himself and the world. [I thought this was odd for Homer to leave with this couple just like that. They just met each other.] Whatever Dr. Larch told him about life in a very old-fashioned way,  did not turn out to be true after all. Homer discovers that there is a lot of evil and tons of temptations and so much more to learn. He figured that Dickens’s Great Expectations, David Copperfield (for the boys) and Jane Eyre (for the girls); the books he used to read to the orphans every night, was the real world. 

Homer discovers love at the orchard and a lot more which makes him stay longer and work at the orchard. When he finds out that the orphanage plans to replace Dr. Larch, who is addicted to ether and is getting too old to perform surgeries, Homer thinks about going back to work as a doctor. What will happens next and will he eventually return to the orphanage? 

Overall, this book is phenomenally written, beautiful, superb, sad at points, moving, tragic and satisfying with extraordinary powerful imagery. I love how Irving makes all the characters interact with each other, how they describe their experiences, reflect, love and discover. 

Get the book here. Not in the mood to read the book? Watch the trailer to the movie if you would like. The movie is fantastic as well. Enjoy and have a great week. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.