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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long ago and far away
"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...
Published on 23 Aug. 2007 by Bob Sherunkle

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars missing books
I only received the first book 'Cider with Rosie' I have yet to receive 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning' and 'A Rose for Winter'
Published 10 months ago by Theresa Edwards


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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long ago and far away, 23 Aug. 2007
By 
Bob Sherunkle (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
"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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16 of 16 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The edition with the perfect illustrations, 31 May 2012
By 
Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
(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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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic memoir, 30 Mar. 2006
By 
Star_Sea "Xing" (Salisbury, England) - See all my reviews
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 15 Jan. 2011
By 
Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cider with Rosie (Paperback)
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. The 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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eloquent, 20 April 2008
By 
kehs (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is a wonderfully told memoir of Lee's childhood in the remote Cotswold village of Stroud. He tells of how he grew up being raised in a one-parent family, his father having left them when he was just 3 years old. His mother believed for all of her life that one day her husband would return home to them, but sadly he never did. He used to send them a few pounds to support the home each week but Lee's life was one of poverty and hardship, yet he still took delight in many of the simple things in life. Lee's style of writing is beautifully descriptive and depicts a world before technology such as mobile phones and computers were even imagined. Sometimes funny, often sad, but extremely eloquently told, in this book Laurie Lee brings the distant past back to life and I highly recommend it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gently Does It, 7 Jan. 2010
A fine BBC drama recording of the classic Laurie Lee autobiographical novel. Tim McInnerny is superb as the narrator/Laurie, Niamh Cusack has a valiant stab at a rural Gloucester accent and is very moving as the scatty, dreamy Mother, and the rest of the cast are very natural and easy on the ear, even the children. With the added sound effects and folk music this is a very faithful rendition of my favourite book. And the scenes at the village entertainment, particularly the sitar playing, will have you in stitches. Worthy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and wonderful look back in time, 20 Nov. 2011
Growing up in a small village in the early 1900's Laurie Lee describes how life could be simple, charming, wonderful, cruel and hard. His father left his mother with not only their children but also the children of his first marriage. Laurie's descriptive writing moves you back in time to experience his childhood, getting to know his siblings, his friends, his mother. How life was prior to school when he was allowed to run wild, adjusting to his first day at school with a baked potato in his pocket for lunch time, moving up to big school. No money, just a loving family. Going with his friends carol singing at Xmas to the Squire's house and on to the other big houses in the area, for the treats and pennies they would share out before going home. Seeing soldiers come home from the First World War, some okay, most broken in some way. He can make you feel the warmth of summer sun on his face and the icy cold of winter in the bedroom and bed he shared with his brothers. The steamy washdays in the kitchen and the fire his mother never would let go out. Absolutely loved it, an era now lost to us but I can still remember in the 1950s the Saturday washday, helping my mother do the weekly wash in the backyard, boiling the copper and putting the sheets through the mangle. It made me think how lucky we are now and, maybe, just pine a little for days lost.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars `I remember, I remember, the house where I was born...........', 10 May 2014
By 
Having recently read a couple of house-brick sized tomes which played games with narrative form and structure, blurring the boundaries between truth and fiction, creating book within a book, or using multimedia to enhance the book experience, it is with a real feeling of relief, despite my enjoyment of the house-bricks, that I return to a re-read of a much simpler, tightly crafted, slower-paced, exquisitely crafted piece of writing - Laurie Lee's well-loved Cider With Rosie, recently re-issued. As no doubt it will be, one hopes, many more times, as writing of this much heart, sensitivity and timelessness, though dealing with a world largely gone, outlasts the fashions of temporary trends.

Laurie Lee was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire, a brief few weeks before the outbreak of the First World War. The family moved to nearby, rural Slad, and it is this boyhood in Slad which is the subject of this first book of an autobiographical trilogy.

He tells of a time long gone, deeply wedded into the landscape and the seasons

"The year revolved around the village, the festivals round the year, the church round the festivals, the Squire around the church, and the village round the Squire. The Squire was our centre, a crumbling moot tree; and few indeed of our local celebrations could take place without his shade"

And in that last sentence there is one of those pause-for-thought poetical images which arrestingly scatter through the pages of the book. The Squirearchy already beginning to crumble and decay, a sense of something which has been slow growing, deeply rooted, but that landscape will soon be gone.

Lee tells the story of his own boyhood, his family history - a poor, ordinary family, one of millions, not the story of the movers and shakers of world history, but the story of unique and rich humanity none-the-less. He recounts with great love his sense of place, his life within a small corner of rural Gloucestershire. Not just the landscape, and his own family, but the lives of neighbours are tenderly and precisely recounted.

Two elderly ladies, enemies for ever, but when one dies, the other follows suddenly within a very small space of time. Enmity was the energy which sustained their lives, and with the death of the first, the point to living had gone for the second.. The sad tale of another elderly couple, united by love and long marriage. When the husband begins to become ill, and they can no longer fend for themselves, they are taken into the Workhouse - where, unfortunately, there are male wards and female wards. Forced apart for the first time for more than 50 years, within a week both have died. Love, not hatred, was their sustaining energy.

Something which began to enthrall and nag at me in the book, was the fact that Lee had had a long early period of profound, recurring, feverish ill health, falling prey to just about every illness going. During many spikes of high fever, visions, nightmares, the uncurling of reality occurred, again and again. Periods of return from near death and fever spikes would leave his senses for a time preternaturally sensitive. It made me ponder the role of childhood illness in developing artistic sensibilities. Not just the fact that illness renders a child more solitary, bed-bound, during their periods of illness, more likely to be reading and imagining than gregarious and doing, but wondering specifically about changes in brain activity from repeated, prolonged, fever, where the barriers between `real' and imagined break down, and the imagined becomes real. Illness as a producer of alterations in consciousness. Lee's descriptions of the natural world, the closeness and shimmer of his vision, at times reads like writings on experiences with hallucinogens.

"I remember, too, the light on the slopes, long shadows in tufts and hollows, with cattle, brilliant as painted china, treading their echoing shapes. Bees blew like cake-crumbs through the golden air, white butterflies like sugared wafers, and when it wasn't raining a diamond dust took over which veiled and yet magnified all things"

I could almost have underlined the whole book as an example of beautiful, attention focusing, arresting, truthful images and observations about place, people and time

A stunning, elegiac, celebratory book. Its all about living within the moment, and really savouring the moment you are in.

And is full of earthy comedy as well as tragedy, dark doings, and high fine transcendence

"We sit down and eat, and the cousins kick us under the table, from excitement rather than spite. Then we play with their ferrets, spit down their well, have a fight, and break down a wall. Later we are called for and given a beating, then we climb up the tree by the earth closet. Edie climbs highest, till we bite her legs, then she hangs upside down and screams. It has been a full, far-flung and satisfactory day; dusk falls, and we say goodbye"

I received this as a digital ARC via the publishers. Charming line drawings by John Ward complete this reissue, in the centenary year of Lee's birth
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The older you get the better this gets, 28 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having first read this book at the age of 14 for O' level and loving it then I recently re-read it for a book club I belong to 40 years on! Still such a wonderful read and this time more appreciative of the setting, you are completely drawn into life at the time, my
American friends loved it too!
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