#237 The Cider House Rules

The Cider House Rules
I’ve been wanting to read the Cider House Rules for a few years now – I’m not completely sure how I became aware of it but sometimes I do like to look through the actual book version of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die and read the write ups for titles that intrigue me and I suspect this may be how I discovered it, but actually getting my hands on a copy has taken a lot longer. At almost 700 pages it does break my current rules for an “appropriate commuting” book – it took up rather more space (and weight !) than I would usually like; but having begun reading The World According to Garp also by John Irving (and also larger than my current ideal reads – though not quite as much) and really enjoying it, I seized on the chance to read the Cider House Rules when I spied it in the library (finally).
It tells the story of Homer Wells, an orphan born at a Maine orphanage who, after a number of failed fostering attempts, ends up as the oldest orphan residing at the orphanage, and as such is allowed to “make himself useful” and become the assistant and eventual protégé of Dr Wilbur Larch, the doctor responsible for delivering the orphanage’s many occupants and for safely performing illegal abortions on women who do not wish to add to its population.
Considering how much I enjoyed this book I don’t really have much to say about it – that I read it in under a week even with work maybe demonstrates how much I enjoyed it and all I can do is recommend it. I did read the last hundred or so pages eagerly awaiting the outcome and I’m not completely sure that I’m happy with the ending, although it was a good ending and I suppose to want anything else for Homer might have been selfish: it does seem inevitable even from the beginning that the orphanage is where he is meant to be but I don’t know if it’s entirely fair. I really enjoyed Dr Larch’s eccentricities: most of all his History of St Cloud’s/diary in which he cleverly rewrites history for his own means (and to protect Homer) and liked Nurse Edna and Angela and even Melony: Homer’s fellow orphan and first girlfriend. Maybe the only thing I didn’t really like was how quickly I managed to get through it and the fact that it’s over now !

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