Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book Review - The Cider House Rules

Author: John Irving
Year: 1985

Apparently it's easier to write a review of something I hated, because I am finding this very difficult.  When a book exceeds all your expectations, when it surprises you with just how deep it goes, and how strongly it affects you, it becomes hard to judge.  What can I write that will express what this story meant to me?  You might read it, enjoy it, even love it, but it will become something totally different to each person who experiences it, for good or for bad.  And that, I guess, is the magic of a great book.

The Cider House Rules is the story of Homer, an orphan from St. Clouds, Maine.  His early life is sculpted by the people around him; from Dr. Larch, the obstetrician, to the two dedicated nurses on staff, to the children like Fuzzy and Melony who will always be a part of who he is.  Destined to be a doctor and follow in his mentor's footsteps, Homer's life veers onto another path when he meets Candy and Wally, two young lovers whose privileged existence is so very different from his own.  As he begins to understand the world outside of St. Clouds, Homer must make decisions that will effect his future, that of the orphanage, and of everyone he has come to love.

Very rarely does a story have so much of an effect on me that I can't describe it or even express myself.  Very simply, this is one of the best books that I have ever read.  It was more than a novel, it was a piece of life.  It was a record of an interesting time and the extraordinary people who lived it.  It was a window into a character that becomes more real than any I have ever known.  I will never forget the story, the conflicts and questions that it raises, the personalities that were so well written that they became physical.  The Cider House Rules will always be on my mind, and will change the way I read every book from now on.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰


  1. I want to run right out and get this but will have to wait until my Tues night library visit.
    Do you own this book? Will I get to know YOU better by reading this or MYSELF better?
    Either way, I am inspired to ingest something of value that will enhance my life.

    1. May I ask who this is?

      I don't think you'll get to know me better, nor even yourself. But you may get to know people better, as the characters are so real and so well written.