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54 of 55 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
3.0 out of 5 stars received quickly but not in as good condition as suggested
Second-hand, received quickly but not in as good condition as suggested. Good read and would recommend the book to anyone who loves reading
Published 18 days ago by Mrs J M Tonks


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54 of 55 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)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
"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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14 of 14 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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6 of 6 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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35 of 38 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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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The older you get the better this gets, 28 Sep 2012
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to my childhood., 9 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Cider With Rosie (Vintage Classics) (Kindle Edition)
So many things that I had forgotten about my childhood. The sayings, the games, the smells of the countryside,dialects, nicknames. The futility of school lessons that were fearful when understanding wouldn't appear. Of holidays on my Aunties farm, collecting fruit for jamming, the Damson trees in the garden.
My elder brother, big to me but so small against the Bull that he was allowed to walk down the lane with a rope through its nose ring.
Endless fields and woods where we would play well into darkness without the fear of strangers or danger from them. Iced over ponds in harsh winters and
friends that drowned when the ice gave way. The bedroom windows thick with ice on the inside when morning came and the pictures that we drew in that ice before breathing hot air on it to clear the page. All these things that have changed in the name of progress, today's children with no childhood, of not knowing we were poor because everyone was. Of clothes that lasted till they wouldn't fit anymore. All these things and many many more that I had forgotten about lying deeply in the recesses of my mind that I have revisited again thanks to Laurie Lee and Cider with Rosie.
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another world, another time, captured forever, 5 Nov 2011
By 
SACB (Middlesex) - See all my reviews
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I started reading the book thinking it might be a saccharine possibly too sentimental...instead all my senses were aroused to his Cotswolds valley at the begining of the C20...and how Laurie Lee tells his childhood is like a wave crashing over you on a summer's day by the seaside...I now know that village those characters and I love them...because they are so true...I have never read a book like it...quintessential English rural life...only imaginable through Laurie Lee's eyes, taste, nose, ears and touch
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