Cider House Rules by John Irving. Homer Wells lives in the orphanage run by Dr. Wilbur Larch who delivers and cares for unwanted babies, and aborts other unwanted babies. As he grows, he becomes a leader of the other kids at the orphanage, and Dr. Larch even trains him in obstetrical procedures. Though several adoption attempts don’t work out, Homer finally escapes the orphanage with Candy and Wally, who come in for an abortion and leave with Homer to help them with their apple orchard.
Like most other Irving books, this one is the story of a young man coming of age. You should know that I’m a big fan of Irving. The way he tells stories, I could keep turning pages forever. So for me, this review is just a comparison of this book with Irving’s other books, because it goes without saying that I’ll like it. Unlike many of his other books, this one seems to be less “his” story. It’s historical (pre-WWII), and it has a major issue to hype (i.e. abortion). While A Prayer for Owen Meany is still my favorite Irving book, and probably always will be, this one is high on the list (maybe second).
I try not to watch movies before I read the book, but in this case, I had seen the movie several years ago, and the casting was perfect. Tobey Maguire is the only way I will ever be able imagine Homer, and Michael Caine was the ideal Dr. Larch. So if you haven’t seen the movie, imagine those two as you read the book. 4/5*