Sunday, July 12, 2015
The Cider House Rules, by John Irving
Read, reviewed, and released in April, 2015
A very powerful and dark drama of an orphanage, its founder/director, and a boy who grew to manhood there. Dr. Wilbur Larch was a young medical intern who did not believe in abortion. In the 1920s, when this novel begins, most of the country did not either. A series of events (one in particular) changed his opinion. The plight of many unwanted and ill-cared-for children led him to found an orphanage in an abandoned logging town. He soon combined obstetric, abortion,and orphanage services into one entity, St. Cloud's Orphanage and Hospital. Desperate women found their way to St. Cloud's to deliver their babies that they would leave at the orphanage, or to have abortions. The boy was Homer Wells. He had been placed in four different adoptive homes at different times in his life, but non of them worked out. He always returned to St. Cloud's. Finally Dr. Larch accepted the inevitable and agreed that Homer could stay as long as he was "of use." As he grew, his responsibilities grew, from errand boy and message taker to Dr. Larch's assistant in the operating room.