Title- The Cider House Rules
Author- John Irving
Genre- Literary fiction, contemporary
Length- 684 pages
Synopsis (Goodreads)- Raised from birth in the orphanage at St. Cloud’s, Maine, Homer Wells has become the protege of Dr. Wilbur Larch, its physician and director. There Dr. Larch cares for the troubled mothers who seek his help, either by delivering and taking in their unwanted babies or by performing illegal abortions. Meticulously trained by Dr. Larch, Homer assists in the former, but draws the line at the latter. Then a young man brings his beautiful fiancee to Dr. Larch for an abortion, and everything about the couple beckons Homer to the wide world outside the orphanage.
Review- After reading and loving A Prayer for Owen Meany I was a bit scared to read more John Irving in case I didn’t like it, I didn’t want John Irving to be ruined for me! Anyway eventually I gave in and picked this up, and I loved it. From what I have seen of John Irving so far I think if you like any of his books you will probably like them all. A lot of what there is to like is his writing style. You really feel like you are there with the characters watching everything unfold.
John Irving books are all very long but they don’t feel long in the sense that you don’t get bored. There is so much detail but the detail keeps it interesting, there is no part of this that I didn’t find engaging. I think John Irving could write 700+ pages about pretty much anything and manage to make it interesting.
The characters are great, they are well developed, but clearly have different personalities. In a lot of books everyone is pretty similar but not here. The number of characters is well controlled also, at no point was it difficult to remember who someone was or who had done a particular thing.
The story itself is also very well developed, a lot happens but it isn’t all thrown at you at once. At times the story focuses on two different places, each where one of the two main characters are, but switching between the two is never disruptive. Everything flows beautifully.
I can’t fault this book at all. Even the medicine is accurate and it never normally is in fiction!
I think I am going to gradually work my way through all of John Irving’s books, and I would recommend them to pretty much everyone.