I loved this book Irving's characters are so wonderful. Even minor ones play huge roles in the story. I love Melony, Mrs. Eames (rhymes with screams), Squeeze Louise, Senior, and many many others. To Amanda- I read in an interview w/ Irving that he writes his stories backwards. Meaning that the first part of the story he conceptualizes is the end and then works from there.
Thank you for your comment, Christi. It helped to understand Irving a bit more given his backward writing technique. It makes complete sense given the number of parallel threads brought together at the end of the book. I really enjoy character development (I am a Steinbeck fan), and got to know Cider House characters very well through Irvings work. The time period of the book spans decades while the film's period is about two years. There is no mention of Melony in the film at all.
Wesly, I agree, and Melony should have been in the movie.
This story reminds me of Steinbeck's East of Eden. No, the plots are not even remotely similar, but the time frames, the "oddness" of the characters, the details of character developement...all right down Steinbeck's alley. I loved this book. It explains a lot of things that were left unaccounted for in the movie, such as the origin Larch's ether addiction, and the details of Wally's relationship with Candy after he returned from the war.