Sunday, February 9, 2014
Review of The Cider House Rules
A great book. Nonetheless it took me some time to finish this novel..
Homer Wells' odyssey begins among the apple orchards of rural Maine. As the oldest unadopted child at St Cloud's orphanage, he strikes up a profound and unusual friendship with Wilbur Larch, the orphanage's founder - a man of rare compassion and an addiction to ether. What he learns from Wilbur takes him from his early apprenticeship in the orphanage surgery, to an adult life running a cider-making factory and a strange relationship with the wife of his closest friend...(Goodreads)
I was impressed by the simple style this novel maintained. Its proze is not very easy, a lot of medical terms, me as a foreigner loving to read english, had to look up or try to translate through context. Still the general sense this novel had, was of a no nonsense way of life, where compromise had to be taken in order to survive and have the things or people one wanted.
You start out with following the life story of Dr Larch, albeit a little abbreviated. It follows his journey towards his function in the orphanage of St. Clouds and the work he performs there. Dr Larch is one of the first gyneacologists who would perform abortions as well as deliver babies depending on what the mothers wanted. In a world where abortions were still illegal, he pursues this to be made legal.
Then Homer Wells is being born and it's being noticed throughout his experiences being adopted that Homer doesn't belong anywhere else but at St.Clouds. Dr Larch learns him whatever medical experience he can be taught and Homer becomes a very good obstetrician.
But of course a young man, who hasn't have a clue what the world can bring him, it's intent to stay put at St. Clouds his whole life, a place very cut off from the world. In his twenties he sets out with a young couple who welcome him very much and he goes to work at an apple orchard. He falls in love with the girl his friend is supposed to marry. When through circumstances both Homer and the girl think that their friend is dead they grow closer together and finally become lovers. When the girl gets pregnant, they decide to have it. They both return to St.Clouds to help out and eventually deliver the baby, without anyone at home knowing.
When they return they claim that Homer has adopted baby Angel and they Candy, the girl, will help out. They have heard that their friend has survived, but is paralysed and Candy can't refuse to marry him, out of guilt. Their lives run forth, Angel not knowing that Homer and Candy are his truthful parents, Wally not knowing that Candy and Homer have a love affair, albeit a little one.
When Homers past confronts him, he knows that he has to come clean and take the place his old mentor is saving for him.
I've been very impressed by this novel. I'm not pro abortions, I had to wait a long time for my little girl, so I'm not entirely symphatizing with girls who end it abdruptly. Still, this novel got me thinking. It's indeed a choice of the mother in question to have to baby or not. It's a living being inside you, whether you terminate the pregnancy, or you raise it and doing a bad job at that.
There are so many pro ans con's, that you will have this argument forever. Right or wrong is a very tricky path. There are people having babies for the wrong reasons, as well as there are people aborting for the right reasons.
Personal rating: 4 stars