John Irving's "The Cider House Rules"

This is our official June discussion, where we will be discussing the book that we democratically selected as a group. This time we are reading "The Cider House Rules" by John Irving. This book was nominated by Kim and the decision to feature it was reinforced by your votes!
Here's how I summed up this amazing book for my column on AnnArbor.com: “The Cider House Rules” is one of my top three favorite books (along with “Jane Eyre” and “Love in the Time of Cholera”). Irving tells a fascinating story that spans three generations of characters. The eldest primary character is Dr. Wilbur Larch, the director of an orphanage, who both delivers and aborts unwanted children. For the bulk of the story, we follow Homer Wells, an orphan who was never adopted and ended up becoming Dr. Larch’s protégé in the obstetric business. Homer decides that it is morally wrong to perform abortions and eventually leaves the orphanage (and his apprenticeship) in the company of a young couple, who he meets when they come in for an abortion. Homer secretly falls in love with the girl, Candy, while her boyfriend, Wally, is off to war. The third primary character that we follow is Angel, Homer’s son. Angel grows up and falls in love with a migrant African-American orchard worker, who is pregnant with her father’s child. Homer must decide whether abortion can be correct and proper in some instances, all the while his heart keeps pulling him back towards the orphanage and Dr. Larch.
You may like this book if… You like reading stories that are both entertaining and informative, you enjoy following multiple main characters, you are interested in learning more about abortion and back-alley abortion against the back drop of WW2, you like dramatic storytelling, you like to ponder several moral and social questions, you like reading about characters who are flawed and vulnerable
You may not like this book if… you do not want to read about issues that you think are wrong, you don’t want to get into your characters’ heads too much, you don’t like reading about uncomfortable circumstances, like accountings of back-alley abortion, rape, assault or racial discrimination, you prefer the film adaptation to closely follow the story in the book and don’t like things to be cut out of the plot line, you do not like characters who are flawed and sometimes make very obvious mistakes
Other things you can do: •Download our list of 1001 and see how many you have read (More>Files>AACBG 1001 Booklist.xls) •Participate in our monthly poll to determine what we will read next (More>Polls) •Visit the group message boards to nominate potential future reading selections (Discussions>Message Boards>Nominations and Recommendations>Nominations) •Check out my literary blog on AnnArbor.com where I review and discuss many of our featured selections, as well as other books from our list

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  • Emlyn C.

    It was good remembering the story through the retelling of the others present at discussion. I was a bit embarrassed that so many plot points of a novel I have elevated to "My Top 3" could be forgotten!

    June 14, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Always awesome to hear the different opinions and thoughtful conversation !

    June 13, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great discussion about the book and a pleasure to hear other's opinion and insights.

    June 13, 2010

  • Emlyn C.

    I will be bringing a copy of this book to our swap (taking place in late April)!

    April 18, 2010

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