I watched the movie version of The Cinder House Rules a few years ago when it first came out. The story was really good. I decided to read the book. I love the book for the extra details that Irving gives. He weaves a story that is long and full of rich characters. While the movie was good, there were extra characters who made the book a real joy to read. It explained the story more completely. Reality is not always pretty and Irving has no problem showing it.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ― Edmund Burke"
In what many consider John Irving's masterwork, we're asked to consider abortion and the rights of society in imposing laws on its citizens. Even the title, The Cider House Rules is an allusion to this idea of rules and the authority to impose them. The Cider House Rules were posted by well intentioned people who didn't live in the cider house and who didn't really understand what life there was like. It's also unclear just exactly what gives them the authority to impose and/or enforce them. One of the nurses working with "Saint Larch" sums it up rather well at one point..."It's because even a good man can't always be right, that we need ... rules.
Even if it were not for these important themes, this is a worthwhile read. The characters are charming, and even the villains are understandable, and for the most part forgivable. The storytelling is first rate, engaging and entertaining. There are even some comedic moments that are overwhelmingly ironic and at the same time laugh out loud funny.
And as to the movie version... Irving did the screen adaptation himself. He made it gentler and more endearing, and though he eliminated several interesting characters to make a simpler, movie friendly plot, I've seen the movie before and after reading the book and it's still eminently watchable. It doesn't feel like it's missing anything too critical. I'm sure that the cameo by Irving as the stationmaster is a salute to one of the characters who was cut though I felt sorrier to see no hint of Melony. However, a book can be more detailed and darker than a movie without losing its audience, and given that the film won Irving an Oscar for best screenplay, apparently the movie community agrees that this adaptation was well done.
John Irving has been called the American Dickens and it's probably because of that that so many Dickens titles were featured in this story but they worked quite well and the quotes that were pulled added to the overall effect quite well.
No matter what your stand on abortion, whether you're pro-life or pro-choice, I'm sure that if you read "the Cider House Rules" you'll be pro-Irving.
I may be one of the few dissenting voices about this book. I have enjoyed other works by John Irving, but about 3/4 of he way through, I put the book down. I just stopped caring about the characters. Do you know the feeling of wanting to "yell at the movie screen" at people for what they are/are not doing/don't realize?
I have NOT seen the film and maybe I would have liked the book if I had already created an affinity for the characters because of the characterizations of the actors which might have carried me through.
In the hospital of the orphanage-the boy's division at St. Cloud's, Maine-two nurses were in charge of naming the new babies and checking that their little penises were healing from the obligatory circumcision.
the cider house rules is an old fashion,big hearted novel...with its epiccaughtin thje 19th century.it is filled with to love and to feel for. somee break rulesand yet they remain nobel and free spirited. they may be tragic,violent and yet their lives seem more interesting.
It is much much better than the movie. They left out half the book. If you start reading this you will be up late at night reading and disappointed when you finish.
The main character is Homer Wells who grows up without socialization and family. His family per se is an orphanage. He is a lonely character and very passive, but very good hearted. While I don't like the abortions in here, it just shows a darker view of unwanted babies and maybe some insight into orphans and how they feel.
The ending was excellent. This book is very deep. It really gets you into their character, and I really did not want it to end. Melony was a very intriguing character. I wonder why the movie was so different. The book was much better. I like the love triangle also. It was a very complex story.
I first read this book in high school and it changed my life!! This might be Irvings finest novel. The details and character are stunning. Will make you think long after you put the book down. The movie really doesnt do the novel justice.
I spent hours in a coffee shop reading the last 200 pages of this book because I couldn't put it down long enough to drive home! It takes several chapters for Irving to introduce all the characters and start the plot, but it is worth the wait.
"The Cider House Rules is filled with people to love and to feel for...The characters in John Irving's novel break all the rules, and yet they remain noble and free-spirited. Victims of tragedy, violence and injustice, their lives seem more interesting and full of thought-provoking dilemmas than the lives of many real people."
From the Houston Post
"An Old-Fashioned, Big-Hearted Novel...with its epic yearning caught in the 19th century, somewhere between Trollope and Twain...The rich detail makes for vintage Irving." - The Bost Sunday Globe
"THE CIDER HOUSE RULES is filled with people to love and to feel for...The characters in John Irving's novel break all the rules, and yet they remain noble and free-spirited. Victims of tragedy, violence, and injustice, their lives seem more interesting and full of thought-provoking dilemmas than the lives of many real people." - The Houston Post