I’m a little slow in posting this since I finished the book over a week ago. It’s so fitting that I finished The Cider House Rules the day before Sanctity of Life Sunday.
What led me to pick up this book: I watched this movie several years ago with my best human friend. While I didn’t really remember the plot, I did recall the emotions that the movie made me feel.
The basic plot of the book: Homer Wells, an orphan, grows up in a not-so-normal orphanage that also functions as a birthing hospital. The orphanage’s doctor also performs abortions. Homer can’t seem to settle in a home, so he becomes the doctor’s apprentice. As he grows older and learns more about the women who come pregnant but never give birth, he decides that he cannot be part of that work. Eventually, he leaves the orphanage to work on an apple farm. He only returns many years later when the orphanage really needs him.
The positives of the book: At first I was cheering for Homer when he told Dr. Larch he wouldn’t perform or assist with any abortions, but then he continued to say that he wasn’t opposed to abortions being performed. He did acknowledge that the fetus is a living human which is why he couldn’t perform an abortion.
Overall, the book is well-written, and in true John Irving fashion, the characters are many and well-developed. Spanning almost 600 pages, the reader sees the duration of Homer’s life in almost minute detail. You’ve been warned: it’s a commitment, but it’s a good book to commit to reading.
The drawbacks of the book: I struggled with the views on abortion because I am totally against abortion. None of the characters fall into that category. It would have been nice to see Irving include one character to challenge Homer’s views on abortion. Thankfully, though, there is more to the book than the abortion debate.
I’d recommend this book to any adult who has a well-formed opinion on abortion. If you’re unsure where you stand, you might want to do some research first because this book could possibly sway you in the wrong direction.