Cider with Rosie

Lee, Laurie. Cider with Rosie. New York: Crown Publishers, 1984.

Reason read: to “continue” the series started in May in honor of Spain’s Madrid Festival (although Cider should have been read before As I Walked Out).

Cider with Rosie begins when Lee is just three years old. He belongs to a family of eight. Lee’s father had eight children with his first wife (who died in childbirth) and four more with his housekeeper who became his second wife. Of the twelve children total, only eight survived. Lee’s father may have left the family when Laurie was only three but his memories of childhood are simply magical regardless. I think he was raised with the expectation that his father would be back. Here is one memory about sleeping with his mother as a toddler: “They were deep and jealous, those wordless nights, as we curled and muttered together, like a secret I held through the waking day which set me above all others” (p 22).
Cider with Rosie is a study in innocence. Lee sees the world as a place of discovery. Even when he was thought to be on death’s door he analyzed all that was around him. I won’t spoil what the title means except to say it’s the end of innocence.

Quote which confounded me: About bread – “We tore them to pieces with their crusts still warm, and their monotony was brightened by the objects we found in them – string, nails, paper, and once a mouse; for those were days of happy-go-lucky baking” (p 14). What?

Book trivia: My edition of Cider with Rosie was wonderfully illustrated. I would advise anyone wanting to read Cider to find it. 35 different artists had a hand in beautifying its pages. While most artists contributed only one or two illustrations,  C.F. Tunnicliffe is credited with thirteen. In total there were over 200 illustrations of various sizes, over 50 of them being full page and 45 photographs (some from Lee’s private collection). Mu favorite illustration was the dragonfly on page 34.

Nancy said: Nancy called Cider an “affectionate memoir” (p 164).

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Me, Me, Me: Autobiographies and Memoirs” (p 162). As an aside, Pearl makes no mention of the other books in the series.

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