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Cider with Rosie (Penguin Books) [Paperback]

Laurie Lee , John Ward
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books, London; 1st Thus edition (1962)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140016821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140016826
  • ASIN: B0000CL99D
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.9 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Fridge Magnet 6 x 9cm depicting a snug bar in the Woolpack Inn, Slad, Gloucestershire. A portrait of local author Laurie Lee (Cider with Rosie) hangs above the piano.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long ago and far away 23 Aug 2007
"They said: `You're Laurie Lee, aren't you? Well just you sit there for the present.' I sat there all day but I never got it. I ain't going back there again." This is Laurie Lee's unforgettable description of his first day at school.

I have a special affection for this book, as my mother grew up in the Stroud area and was only two years younger than Laurie. Even if they didn't actually know each other, it is very likely that they met.

The story manages to be both lyrical and realistic. One minute it presents a childhood idyll, next you are faced with death - sometimes sad, sometimes brutal.

The core of the story is the life of Laurie's large and boisterous family, living in cheerful poverty in their Cotswold cottage, and above all his mercurial, warm-hearted mother (his father plays only a bit-part in events). "She was an artist, a light-giver, and an original, and she never for a moment knew it."

It is a common tendency to look back on the period of one's youth as a turning point in history, but when you read the last chapter you will understand Laurie's claim "The village had a few years left, the last of its thousand, and they passed almost without our knowing".

Rosie really did exist. Indeed, she outlived Laurie, and only three years ago she was interviewed by BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

There have been two excellent TV adaptations of the story. Unfortunately neither is currently available on DVD. (Correction August 2008 - the more recent version starring Juliet Stevenson is now available.)

The book is as golden as the cider of the title - read it and delight.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of a thousand years of rural life 22 Jun 1999
By A Customer
"Never to be forgotten, that first long secret drink of golden fire, juice of those valleys and of that time, wine of wild orchards, of russet summer, of plump red apples, and Rosie's burning cheeks. Never to be forgotten, or ever tasted again...."
I challenge any reader not be moved by the poetry and the passion of the prose in this work. Truly a classic of the twentieth century.
Deeply evocative, one can almost feel the weight of a thousand years of history, slowly disappearing while the young Laurie Lee grows up, in a chaotic house with his memorable mother and the brothers and sisters from his father's first marriage as well as the second (the father himself having left for London). We see the full, glorious spectrum of village life, almost pagan in the way everything is bound up in the seasons and the rhythms of the earth.
A book to read and read again.
"I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three; and there with a sense of bewilderment and terror my life in the village began."
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic memoir 30 Mar 2006
Although Laurie Lee preferred to write poetry, he is best known for his prose: the trilogy of memoirs he wrote late in his life. "Cider with Rosie" is the first, detailing his childhood from the time he moves into his Gloucestershire home to just before he leaves to seek his fortune. His prose is extremely lyrical, especially when describing nature, his beloved mother and his three older half-sisters. Apart from the quality of the writing, "Cider with Rosie" should be read for the poetic descriptions of an England with few motorcars "where the horse was still king", agricultural communities that were able to function independently and hardly any interference from "the outside world".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The edition with the perfect illustrations 31 May 2012
By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER
The opening page of "Cider with Rosie" describes the world through the eyes of a toddler - mysterious, unpredictable, worryingly large. Laurie Lee's genius is to keep this magical, subjective, viewpoint intact throughout the book, growing as the author grows, understanding with each chapter more of the world he swims through, a wondering, innocent, cunning, superstitious presence. Although this book is often recommended for an insight into rural life a few decades ago - and by any standard, it is one of the best books on the subject - it is for his mastery of the "child's eye view" that we should respect the writer. He resists all temptations to be "cute", he refrains from commenting on his memories, he presents them to us in utter purity. By reading it, each of us, rural or not, is able to recapture the experience of being a small child.

Towards the latter part of the book, as the narrator matures and gains a more grown-up perspective, we see more of the darker side of his world, and at last understand that this is an elegy for something that Lee, even as he lived it, began to realise was slipping from his grasp. The emeotion we feel is not the sentimental nostalgia of TV's Lark Rise To Candleford, but Lee's own grief for what he cannot now recapture, except by writing this book.

"Cider with Rosie" will make you laugh and cry, but your feelings are never manipulated for effect. Every emotion you will feel is genuine and springs from deep wihin your own experience of being a child, and growing up. This edition, with the drawings by John Ward is the one to get - their nervous, unpolished line and strange quiet power make them the perfect companion to the words; they will send shivers down your spine.

For a factual, but equally magical picture of life in a Suffolk village just after the Second World War try Akenfield. For poems that will bring you something of the same feeling as Cider with Rosie, read A Shropshire Lad (Dover Thrift).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read as ever
Published 16 hours ago by trizzie
5.0 out of 5 stars and a joy to picture in ones mind
I hadn't read this book for many, many years, so it was lovely to re-read such a well written book. Laurier Lee's ability to describe even minutiae is quite incredible, and a joy... Read more
Published 1 day ago by MistyMoo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I am still reading it at present, but so far enjoying every minute of it.
Published 1 day ago by Fatty
5.0 out of 5 stars Prose Elevated to the Level of Poetry
This is an autobiographical account of the author’s childhood in the Cotswolds during the 1910s and 1920s. Read more
Published 3 days ago by J C E Hitchcock
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not bad
Published 3 days ago by toots
4.0 out of 5 stars CIDER WITH ROSIE.
At last a 'classic' that I did quite enjoy. I say quite enjoy as I'm afraid the somewhat relaxed descriptions of incest and under-age sex (albeit seemingly consenting unlike later... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Tracy Terry
5.0 out of 5 stars Great enjoyment
A good laugh these days is to be priced and Cider with Rosie certainly provides this in a very down to earth way. Read more
Published 11 days ago by poodle
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Memories of a country life and childhood we all dreamed about but rarely experienced
Published 12 days ago by c juett
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Enjoyed every moment of this lovely interesting and vividly described book - fab
Published 16 days ago by alice
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Happy with purchase
Published 16 days ago by Mrs Carolyn Crossman
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