As I turned the final pages of this book, a strange sensation came over me. There is always a sense of accomplishment when finishing a book. But this is my first big book read in 2017. I want to say that this experience has made me optimistic for the future of this challenge. Indeed I am pretty excited. But can I just be honest? It is only going to get worse from here! I say that with love.
The very idea of setting out to read over 30 big books in one year is an insane task. I’m kind of questioning my own sanity when I came up with the idea. While I am still very much pumped about this challenge, I’m also very nervous as to all the reading I’m going to have to be doing in place of common place things such as eating, sleeping, and having human interaction.
But let us conclude this book on a high note. Going into this chapter, I had a basic understanding of the events that were about to unfold. I knew Dr. Larch was going to die at the hands of his addiction, ether. I knew a black woman at the Cider House was going to get pregnant (either from an abusive husband or from a relative) and this would force Homer to make ethical the decision to abort the baby and eventually take over for Dr. Larch at St. Cloud’s. I know all of this from seeing the movie.
Despite the fact that I already knew these bits, I was very sad to read about Larch’s death. It is the only time I came close to crying while reading this novel. Another note about me as a reader – not only do I not laugh much at books but I also don’t cry much.
The character of Rose Rose was very hard to read about, not only because of her circumstances but just the ethics of using a character of color to teach a white man a lesson. I wouldn’t have brought this up had Rose Rose been a legitimate character throughout the book. If that had been the case, there would be no critique. But she wasn’t. She was a plot device. Yeah we knew she was born in a previous chapter and Mister Rose was her father, but she disappeared from existence until suddenly we needed Dr. Larch to be replaced and Homer needed his climax. It is a shame because I think this is where the book takes a lot of missteps. As contemplative and careful of a narrative as it is, the story has just becomes so jumbled that things are happening just to happen and fulfill this destiny set forth by Larch to Homer.
I won’t say I was displeased by Homer’s realization. It made me happy. It was what the book had been building up to. But we had to deal with a lot of filler that, at the end of the day, doesn’t really stand up in perspective.
Melony dies and I will say that her death made me sad.
Although I was skeptical of the Fuzzy Stone history rewrite plot, I appreciate it more now that I truly see where Larch was taking it. Still, I can tell the book wants it to come off as this moment of brilliance and honestly, I still find it boring and petty.
Now to conclude, here are my final thoughts. When I began reading this book, I found it to be charming in all the right ways. Reading about the orphanage and its cold yet loving environment made me warm inside. Dr. Larch is such an interesting character. What impressed me the most was how the book tackled the subject of abortion, not saying what is right but letting the characters come to their own conclusions and thus allowing the reader room to breathe. As the book went on, I found that I knew less and less what I was supposed to gain from the text. It lost its way a bit, taking us on long day to day scenes in multiple characters lives to a chapter that literally condensed an entire fifteen years. Basically, the book seemed to forget what it wanted to say by the end. And when I say the end, I mean the last 200 pages.
The very end of the book itself seemed to come back to the topic of abortion which helped tie things together. And I really did love the last line.
To Nurse Edna, who was in love, and to Nurse Angela, who wasn’t (but who had in her wisdom named both Homer Wells and Fuzzy Stone), there was no fault to be found in the hearts of either Dr. Stone [Homer] or Dr. Larch, who were – if there ever were – Princes of Maine, Kings of New England.
This last sentence reminded me why I loved this book in the first place. Beyond the abortion plot and Wally and Candy, there was the relationship between Homer Wells and Dr. Larch. That is easily the best aspect of this book.
Until next time, friend. Danielle.