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Publisher's Summary

From one of America's most beloved and respected writers comes the classic story of Homer Wells, an orphan, and Wilbur Larch, a doctor without children of his own, who develop an extraordinary bond with one another.
©1985 John Irving (P)1999 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Witty, tenderhearted, fervent, and scarifying." ( New York Times Book Review)
"Gardner understands and conveys the book's sly humor and comprehension of human foibles." ( Los Angeles Times)
"John Irving's best novel....He is among the very best storytellers." ( Philadelphia Inquirer)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Patti on 07-02-07


As often happens in my reading, I am curious of how the title was chosen. Although the Cider House and their rules were significant to this story, the orphanage was much more central to its theme. Regardless, this was wonderful to listen to.

I have not read anything of John Irving's before. And if it weren't for the movie getting such high praise, I probably would not have read this one. But I am glad I did. The characters are wonderful. I did not have trouble following who is who despite the large number of people introduced into the tale.

The subject sounds a bit more controversial, to be sure, than it is. But it is presented powerfully simple. I am pro-life, but I am also a nurse and need to offer all options. Just because I do not agree with abortion doesn't mean I rule over you. I can only hope there is a place like this one for those who need it.

The atrocities presented in this tale are numerous: class differences, prejudices, addictions, harsh realities of life all of them. But they are told in such a way that they are neither repulsive nor shocking.

And I did see the movie after listening to this. I am amazed it was rated so high, as it should be banned for desecrating such a wonderful tale. This selection is well worth your time and money.

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41 of 41 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Elizabeth on 01-28-13

The Very Best

I first read this book in 1986, when it first came out. I even saw the movie. Blame it on the passage of time or a bad memory, but all I remembered about it was that I knew I loved it. Engrossing, deep, funny, moving, sad but satisying. John Irving is the best. The very best. Man, can he tell a story. The narrator is perfect. He covers controversial topics, so know what you are getting into before you start it. This is a book you will be thinking about long after it is done and you will so want to talk about it! It has held up to the passage of time well, also.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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