Book Reviews of The Cider House Rules

The Cider House Rules
The Cider House Rules
Author: John Irving
PBS Market Price: $8.09 or $4.19+1 credit
ISBN-13: 9780345387653
ISBN-10: 0345387651
Publication Date: 1/9/1994
Pages: 598
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 497

3.9 stars, based on 497 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

47 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 85 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
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.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Once again, John Irving proves his literary might in this book about a young man finding his way. Not always a happy story. Not always topics for comfortable discussion, but what a great read!
reviewed The Cider House Rules on
Helpful Score: 3
Great storytelling. The book just draws you in, hard to put down.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 138 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 61 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
John Irving at his most "irvingist". It's wicked, twisted, and funny.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 142 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
My favorite books are ones that make me think, that have great characters, great plots and good development. I like it best when I can actually *join* the characters in the story.

Cider House Rules is like this. It is a wonderful book & I post it with a little hesitation ... I think it should probably be on my "Keep-and-Reread" shelf!
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A wonderful novel that is thought-provoking and heart-rending. Let's just say that I couldn't put it down. It is beautifully written and has everything you'd expect from John Irving and more.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I read this before I saw the movie, so I would understand the movie better. A good read.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A great story; touching and thought-provoking.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
If you liked the movie you will enjoy the book.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on
Helpful Score: 1
I hated the movie. The book is better (of course).
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A sad, strange tale of an orphanage and the doctor that takes care of the children and the would-be mothers that come to him for help. Moving, touching, emotional, if a little graphic at times.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
BRILLIANT. Smart, fun, sad and unpredictable. Everything a novel should be.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A wonderful story! Moving and thoughtful, it really makes you think. Loved it!
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 66 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A great read!
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Awesome book! John Irving is a wonderfully surreal writer. If you haven't read anything by him, get started.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 93 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
One of my favorite John Irving's of all times. I loved it!
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 296 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
An excellent book, much better than the movie which was really good!
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Helpful Score: 1
First Sentence:
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.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 160 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a great book, by a great author!
reviewed The Cider House Rules on
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent read. John Ivring is a master story teller.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I love reading all of John Irvings books, he has a delightful perspective on how his world works, they always make me laugh, and cry and feel like I am part of the story. Captivating.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Good old fashioned novel - coming of age.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 391 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Way better than the movie
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Better than the movie
reviewed The Cider House Rules on
Helpful Score: 1
This is one of my favorites. It is the first John Irving book I read, causing me to discover one of my favorite authors.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 37 more book reviews
Read the book, saw the movie. Now it is your turn! This is a very good book and wonderful story.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 67 more book reviews
Great book. The movie did a good job at highlighting the important parts of the book.
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Very good book, my favorite so far of John Irving's books.
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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.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 113 more book reviews
I loved this book. Interesting story, a page turner. Would highly recommend.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 52 more book reviews
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.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 9 more book reviews
moving ,emotional-very affective
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 5 more book reviews
A classic!
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 4 more book reviews
It is well written as well as the movie was well acted.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 131 more book reviews
a big hearted novel, full of old fashioned characters, but not my cup of tea....
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 17 more book reviews
Homer Wells is an orphan with an interesting view on life.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 459 more book reviews
An American Classic.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 91 more book reviews
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I love the way Irving writes it- I was taken to the time of the book and was completely absorbed in this wonderful story. I highly recommend it!
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 236 more book reviews
"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
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"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
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 23 more book reviews
19th century story about abortion, before it was legal. good story I enjoyed it.
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 91 more book reviews
The story of a doctor, orphange, abortions and love...All brought together in late 19th and early 20th centuries
reviewed The Cider House Rules on + 27 more book reviews
been a while since I read it, but I enjoyed it.