Published July 1st 2000 by Thorndike Press
I admit, I don't always read the book prior to seeing the movie. While I loved the movie, the book was definitely worth picking up to read. John Irving tends to write a longer novel, but I found he almost never wastes a word. His stories have depth, detail, and he is great at tying up loose ends even with the most minor of characters.
Cider House Rules follows Homer Wells, an orphan who was returned to the orphanage several times, and was trained to "be of use." Dr. Larch is the orphanages doctor who has quite liberal views despite his age and the time frame he was overseeing the orphanage. The novel covers some back story of Dr. Larch's life, as well as follows Homer's life off orphanage property for 15+ years. Irving includes some details on other long term orphans, giving closure at the end of the book as to what happened to all of Homer's "family."
This is a long book, but definitely an enjoyable one. I enjoy how Irving takes his time with his characters, giving them personality and meaning.