Cider with Rosie (The Autobiographical Trilogy, 1)
At all times wonderfully evocative and poignant, Cider With Rosie is a charming memoir of Laurie Lee's childhood in a remote Cotswold village, a world that is tangibly real and yet reminiscent of a now distant past.In this idyllic pastoral setting, unencumbered by the callous father who so quickly abandoned his family responsibilities, Laurie's adoring mother becomes the centre of his world as she struggles to raise a growing family against the backdrop of the Great War.The sophisticated adult author's retrospective commentary on events is endearingly juxtaposed with that of the innocent, spotty youth, permanently prone to tears and self-absorption.Rosie's identity from the novel Cider with Rosie was kept secret for 25 years. She was Rose Buckland, Lee's cousin by marriage.From the Paperback edition.

Cider with Rosie (The Autobiographical Trilogy, 1) Details

TitleCider with Rosie (The Autobiographical Trilogy, 1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 10th, 2014
PublisherOpen Road Media
Rating
GenreClassics, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, European Literature, British Literature

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Cider with Rosie (The Autobiographical Trilogy, 1) Review

  • Vanessa Wu
    January 1, 1970
    I asked my boyfriend if he had ever been physically aroused by a work of fiction while reading on a bus or train."Oh, many a time," he said."Really? Did you get an erection?""Yes, of course. Isn't that what you meant? It doesn't happen so much now," he said."Because you are cynical and you've seen it all before?""Partly that," he concurred. "But also because my blood is more sluggish and I have lost the vigour of youth.""When was the last time you got an erection while reading in a public place? I asked my boyfriend if he had ever been physically aroused by a work of fiction while reading on a bus or train."Oh, many a time," he said."Really? Did you get an erection?""Yes, of course. Isn't that what you meant? It doesn't happen so much now," he said."Because you are cynical and you've seen it all before?""Partly that," he concurred. "But also because my blood is more sluggish and I have lost the vigour of youth.""When was the last time you got an erection while reading in a public place?" I asked eagerly."When reading your last email to me," he said without hesitation. He's a pretty quick-witted guy, actually. That's why he's my boyfriend. :)"What about the first time?" I asked. "How old were you?""Oh, I didn't need books when I was in the first flush of puberty," he said. "I used to get an erection on the bus just looking at all the pretty schoolgirls going up and down the stairs.""You're a pervert," I said."But the first book that made me miss my stop because I was unable to leave my seat due to the large bulge in my trousers was Cider With Rosie.""By Laurie Lee?""Indeed. That old English classic. It's a rural idyll. And you can't have a rural idyll without a romp in the hay so why they give it to pubescent boys as a set text at school I'll never know. It's like putting a stick of dynamite down their pants.""Dynamite?""Well, you know what I mean. I looked like I had a stick of dynamite down my pants when I got off that bus anyway. And then we had to write our own memoir in a similar vein. The teacher even gave us the title. The First Bite Of The Cherry. And you call me a pervert.""That's a public school English education for you," I said."Exactly," he said. "It's astonishing I turned out normal.""If you were normal you wouldn't be able to satisfy me," I said.But that's another story altogether.
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  • Fabian
    January 1, 1970
    When you are transported directly into the childhood of the writer, you know this is a good biography. When you smell the very air, when you feel that what the characters are smiling about is a scene of intense everyday hilarity, and when you want to visit THERE* (for just a second, just for the sake of both reader and writer, just for the sake of experience), well, then you know you are dealing with a superlative type of novel, which weaves truth with literature at an almost-mythical level.*Bri When you are transported directly into the childhood of the writer, you know this is a good biography. When you smell the very air, when you feel that what the characters are smiling about is a scene of intense everyday hilarity, and when you want to visit THERE* (for just a second, just for the sake of both reader and writer, just for the sake of experience), well, then you know you are dealing with a superlative type of novel, which weaves truth with literature at an almost-mythical level.*Britain, after WW I
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  • Milica
    January 1, 1970
    Before I started reading this book, I was warned that it is extremely boring, or as my colleague put it '200 pages of absolutely nothing going on, that it's a complete waste of paper and time as well.But after I'd read a few pages, I quickly realized that I was enjoying the book immensely. I love the way he describes simple, everyday things, feelings, smells in a way that instantly makes you feel nostalgic about your childhood, that makes you wish to go out of town and settle in the countryside. Before I started reading this book, I was warned that it is extremely boring, or as my colleague put it '200 pages of absolutely nothing going on, that it's a complete waste of paper and time as well.But after I'd read a few pages, I quickly realized that I was enjoying the book immensely. I love the way he describes simple, everyday things, feelings, smells in a way that instantly makes you feel nostalgic about your childhood, that makes you wish to go out of town and settle in the countryside. And how it makes you look on the times when you actually had enough time to spend with your family.
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  • Duane
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this little book, so to say I was somewhat disappointed sounds disingenuous, but I honestly thought this would be a 5 star read. All the ingredients were there; classic, set in The Cotswolds area of England in the early twentieth century, the musings of an adult about his childhood days "when life was slow and oh so mellow" kind of thing. But my imagination just didn't take flight to that place I wanted to go. Parts of it were good, I especially liked the chapter on the grannies, only I enjoyed this little book, so to say I was somewhat disappointed sounds disingenuous, but I honestly thought this would be a 5 star read. All the ingredients were there; classic, set in The Cotswolds area of England in the early twentieth century, the musings of an adult about his childhood days "when life was slow and oh so mellow" kind of thing. But my imagination just didn't take flight to that place I wanted to go. Parts of it were good, I especially liked the chapter on the grannies, only if the whole of it could have been like that? Still a good read. 4 stars.
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  • Chrissie
    January 1, 1970
    This is not merely a biography or description of a special time and place (the Cotswolds the years after the First World War), it is prose poetry. It is the lyrical fashion in which it is written that is its outstanding element. The story unfolds not chronologically but rather by theme. There is a chapter on summer and winter. A chapter on festivals. A chapter on school. A chapter on sexual awakening. A chapter entitled "The Kitchen" which is the center of a home, and here we hear of his family, This is not merely a biography or description of a special time and place (the Cotswolds the years after the First World War), it is prose poetry. It is the lyrical fashion in which it is written that is its outstanding element. The story unfolds not chronologically but rather by theme. There is a chapter on summer and winter. A chapter on festivals. A chapter on school. A chapter on sexual awakening. A chapter entitled "The Kitchen" which is the center of a home, and here we hear of his family, his mother and father and half-sisters, half-brothers and brothers. His father departed at the age of three. His mother waited for years and years and years for his father's return. She waited and waited, raising the kids from both his marriages, until his father's death made clear he was never to return. Laurie Lee's mother and his half-sisters shaped what was to be “his home". The essence of "home" is not just described but felt. His mother's essence is not just described but felt too. You leave the memoir knowing well not just Laurie Lee but his mother and his sisters too. You leave the memoir feeling the passage of the old Cotswolds into the new. Horses replaced by cars, songs and tales by candlelight in the evening to the wireless. Life in the village to life out there in the beyond. The girls married and gone. The absence of pigs. Laurie Lee draws contrasts vividly - then and now, summer and winter, quiet and bustle, presence and absence. Laurie Lee narrates this, his own book. His voice quavers, but it is full of emotion. I went from disliking it in the beginning to thinking it was perfect by the book's end. In the middle I disassociated myself from what I was hearing by repeating the magnificent lines in my head. Then my need to do this suddenly stopped; I began to love the narration. The book covers only his childhood and teens. It is the first of a trilogy which covers the later years of his life. See this: https://www.goodreads.com/series/1802...If you love lyrical writing, read this book.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    If anything, I would buy this book for the sole purpose of flipping it randomly to any page to be confronted by Laurie Lee's unforgettable mastery of descriptive detail. He belongs to a talented class of writers, which includes John Muir, who have the ability to capture nature in writing and speak to the reader in an inclusive and intimate manner. Everything in this autobiography is written with such a full, fresh, and loving fondness making it impossible not to like the obscure village of Slad, If anything, I would buy this book for the sole purpose of flipping it randomly to any page to be confronted by Laurie Lee's unforgettable mastery of descriptive detail. He belongs to a talented class of writers, which includes John Muir, who have the ability to capture nature in writing and speak to the reader in an inclusive and intimate manner. Everything in this autobiography is written with such a full, fresh, and loving fondness making it impossible not to like the obscure village of Slad, England and its lively villagers. Reading the verdant descriptions in this book is like biting into the largest, juiciest piece of fruit you've ever eaten. Even the moldy, dripping, cottage walls, constant struggle for food, nine living and three dead siblings, numbing cold of winter, and common English brawling and beatings don't seem that bad because they're described so beautifully. It must have been just awful at times, but one might never know how wonderful too if not for his telling of it. However, reader be warned, don't fall in love like I did with the bucolic, English countryside of Lee's childhood because it does not exist anymore. As he describes at the end of the book, that prelapsarian picture of village life that had existed for thousands of years, ended shortly after the first automobile came clanking down their narrow dirt roads. It is fortunate that Laurie Lee happened to be there to experience it and possessed the ability to document it with the vision of a poet before it disappeared.
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  • Kevin Ansbro
    January 1, 1970
    There was a reassuring prevalence of Penguin books, resplendent in their orange cummerbunds, as I rummaged through a squished cardboard box in my attic.Then, delightfully, I spied a book that triggered a wave of nostalgia:"Cider With Bloody Rosie." I gasped (um, mine wasn't a version with 'bloody' in the title, just so you know)."Well, I never! Cider With Bloody Rosie." (You see, I repeated the word 'bloody' yet again, such was my cock-a-hoopedness). Gosh! I had previously read this a gazillion There was a reassuring prevalence of Penguin books, resplendent in their orange cummerbunds, as I rummaged through a squished cardboard box in my attic.Then, delightfully, I spied a book that triggered a wave of nostalgia:"Cider With Bloody Rosie." I gasped (um, mine wasn't a version with 'bloody' in the title, just so you know)."Well, I never! Cider With Bloody Rosie." (You see, I repeated the word 'bloody' yet again, such was my cock-a-hoopedness). Gosh! I had previously read this a gazillion years ago, at a time when even Tarzan didn't seem at all far-fetched.A quick shufty through its sepia-hued pages reminded me what a terrific writer Lee was, with indelible characters such as Cabbage Stump Charlie and Harelip Harry.For me, his sumptuous imagery and poetic prose (and the fact that this was an autobiographical memoir, which reads like fiction) drew comparison with Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals.The story harks back to the rural hardship of an English village shortly after the Great War, long before such villages were served by gastropubs, delicatessens, or even motor cars.(Were it written today, I venture it might be titled Cider Round the back of Tesco Express).Rediscovering Laurie Lee's beautiful wordplay made me initially think that his prose was wasted on a boy who could clearly imagine a clean-shaven Tarzan swinging from vines through the jungle. But perhaps my evidential nostalgia confirmed otherwise.
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  • Magrat Ajostiernos
    January 1, 1970
    Una gozada de principio a fin :3Se va directo a mis preferidos!!!
  • Connie
    January 1, 1970
    When Laurie Lee was three years old his family moved to a small Cotswold village. The family of eight had been abandoned by Laurie's father although he still sent them money. His mother was loving, but a bit flighty. The book is an account of village life, where the people lived close to the land, during the decade after World War I. His mother cooked over a wood fire, and water was hand pumped. The children attended a two room schoolhouse. The family enjoyed the simple things in life, but life When Laurie Lee was three years old his family moved to a small Cotswold village. The family of eight had been abandoned by Laurie's father although he still sent them money. His mother was loving, but a bit flighty. The book is an account of village life, where the people lived close to the land, during the decade after World War I. His mother cooked over a wood fire, and water was hand pumped. The children attended a two room schoolhouse. The family enjoyed the simple things in life, but life also brought hardships.Laurie was hit with just about every childhood illness imaginable, and almost died several times. An older sister did not survive childhood, a common but tragic event in the time before antibiotics. Difficult times like these balance other parts of the story that probably present an idealized view of his childhood.The book ends with Laurie reaching adolescence and discovering girls. The title refers to him and an early love interest, Rosie, drinking hard cider under a hay wagon."Cider with Rosie" opens a window into a different time and place. Changes are seen by the end of the decade as the landowning squire dies, motorized vehicles fill the roads, and former soldiers choose non-farming occupations. The book is very descriptive, and often reads like poetic prose. Lee has a good sense of humor and included humorous events into his account. I read the illustrated edition that contained beautiful illustrations by 36 artists, as well as sepia toned photographs of Lee's family. 3.5 stars
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  • Cecily
    January 1, 1970
    A quintessential coming of age story. It tells of Laurie Lee’s childhood in Gloucestershire, just after WW1. But it is not only Lee’s coming of age, it is also that of the village, as the rural backwater changes rapidly, losing many of its traditional village ways and gaining things such as motor vehicles.The first time I read it, I was quite young and slightly confused as it was the first book I read that was not really chronological, but instead told the story grouped by overlapping themes, su A quintessential coming of age story. It tells of Laurie Lee’s childhood in Gloucestershire, just after WW1. But it is not only Lee’s coming of age, it is also that of the village, as the rural backwater changes rapidly, losing many of its traditional village ways and gaining things such as motor vehicles.The first time I read it, I was quite young and slightly confused as it was the first book I read that was not really chronological, but instead told the story grouped by overlapping themes, such as seasons, school, grannies (not blood ones) and festivals. It also takes a very relaxed approach to consenting incest, underage sex and drink and attempted gang rape – not something I expected as a teenager reading a book of such antiquity! Rereading it as an adult, is rather different. The most memorable scenes for me are not the famous cider in the haystack but two big disappointments: when Laurie is deemed too old to sleep in his mother’s bed and then when he starts school and is told to sit in a particular place “for the present”, and is bitterly disappointed not to be given said present at the end of the day.It's interesting to compare this with DH Lawrence's early short story, nearly half a century earlier:Love Among the Haystacks.
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  • Ellie
    January 1, 1970
    Ok, his prose is great. We all agree on that. He almost gives the reader synesthesia from his descriptions. It's excellent. HOWEVER. I was sickened by some of the things I've read both in the book and surrounding it. I have searched through many other reviews, and all I've really found is "this book is so great because" or "Laurie Lee is the best author because he captures England at it's finest" blah blah blah. He kind of does, but then again, it's nauseatingly rose-tinted, and you can basicall Ok, his prose is great. We all agree on that. He almost gives the reader synesthesia from his descriptions. It's excellent. HOWEVER. I was sickened by some of the things I've read both in the book and surrounding it. I have searched through many other reviews, and all I've really found is "this book is so great because" or "Laurie Lee is the best author because he captures England at it's finest" blah blah blah. He kind of does, but then again, it's nauseatingly rose-tinted, and you can basically HEAR him saying "I can't believe how appalling the youth of today is [etc], I remember, back in my day, we would never..." etc etc snooze boring etc.Not only is Mr Lee somewhat racist, he is also sexist. And no, I don't care if that's what they did at the time, that doesn't make it ok. It also doesn't mean it's the perfect wonderful England to look back on where everyone wants to live, because I wouldn't want to live in a country where it's ok to call a woman of (I imagine) African origin both "a Negress" and to describe her thus: " Mrs Moore was a jolly, eye-bulging, voodoo-like creature who took charge of us with primitive casualness."He subsequent treatment of women is pretty awful too, from describing when he had to go and sleep in his own bed, away from his mother as "my first lesson in the gentle, merciless rejection of women." Because, of course, we are all the same, we all reject men and we're all cold and evil and have no feelings. Not only that, he also sleeps around frequently, from the age of ELEVEN(!), and writes, extremely casually no less, about a rape that he and his friends planned one time. Not that it actually occurs. But that's not the point. The intention was there to rape a Christian girl, probably because she is extremely innocent, and his descriptions of said girl aren't especially flattering.All of this, coupled with the aged look of "back in the day, things were wonderful, our family had pride in itself and we made a name for ourselves in the village, everyone knew the name we bore" blah blah blah - all of that, makes for a pretty sour ending to what I thought was going to be a quaint look at country life in the early 20th century. Maybe it is. Maybe Mr Lee is adding in these unsavory parts to show how everything wasn't perfect. But I doubt it. I would like to know why he is hailed as such a hero, when I believe Thomas Hardy gives a much better impression of rural life and with spectacles that have not been near a rose bush in a thousand years.
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  • umberto
    January 1, 1970
    I inexplicably felt relieved to finish reading this wonderful book since it has long challenged me since around those late 1960's in my college years in Bangkok (there were only six state universities then). Our English teacher, Mr Tony Kidd, was teaching us a foundation English course (I can't recall exactly if I was in year 1 or 2) and one morning at weekends I asked him for one or two English books (not simplified ones) so that I could improve my reading skills and he kindly recommended this I inexplicably felt relieved to finish reading this wonderful book since it has long challenged me since around those late 1960's in my college years in Bangkok (there were only six state universities then). Our English teacher, Mr Tony Kidd, was teaching us a foundation English course (I can't recall exactly if I was in year 1 or 2) and one morning at weekends I asked him for one or two English books (not simplified ones) so that I could improve my reading skills and he kindly recommended this title and To Kill a Mockingbird (Popular Library 1962) by Harper Lee. I willingly bought its reasonably-priced new copy and tried reading its first story but, surprisingly, I couldn't proceed beyond that; the best I could do was that whenever I tried to read a few pages, my eventual slumber crept in so I put it back on the shelf. One of such looming hardships that impeded my ongoing reading toward fluency with accurate understanding was that, I recall, his ways of writing dialogues by abbreviating them as spoken English with its grammar unfamiliar to me; however, looking at the bright side, I thought it was how he tried to transliterate them to be as close as those spoken in rural England, for example:''Oo did it?' I yelled.'Nobody, silly. Your eyes got bunged up, that's all.' (p. 17)'Please, miss, I got to stay 'ome tomorrow, to 'elp with the washing - the pigs - me dad's sick.''I dunno, miss; you never learned us that.''I 'ad me book stole, miss. Carry Burdock pinched it.''Please, miss, I got a gurt' eadache.' (p. 56)'Let's go an''élp Farmer Wells,' said a fat boy.'You can - I ain't,' said a thin one.'If you don''t, I'll give you thee a clip in the yer'ole.''Gurt great bully.''I ain't.''You be.' (p. 139)As a guide, we can read its synopsis by visiting this site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cider_w.... First published in 1959, this 13-story memoir describes the author's early life after World War I in a remote Cotswold village called Slad, Gloucestershire in England. His family was large totaling eight people; his Mother Annie (née Light), his eldest brother Jack, himself, his younger brother Tony, and his half-brother Harold (the first-born Reggie lived with his grandmother) and three half-sisters Marjorie, Dorothy, and Phyllis from their widower father. Please note the capital M as we can see in this memorable writing when he always mentions her fondly (rarely found in other memoirs I read), for example: "... , because Mother had said so." (p. 19), "..., my Mother disappeared to visit my father." (p. 20), "Our Mother returned from far away with excited tales of its madness, ..." (p. 25), etc.To continue . . .
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    3.5-stars Rounded Up.Cider With Rosie is a memoir of Laurie Lee’s life in the Cotswolds immediately following World War I, and reminded me of A. J. Cronin’s The Green Years, being told by a young boy of a poor family. I thought this book was quite lovely in places and a bit bogged down in others. It had marvelous potential that it dropped just short of reaching.There is a story about two “grannies” who live next door to the Lee family, rivals and grudging enemies, their story made me think of tw 3.5-stars Rounded Up.Cider With Rosie is a memoir of Laurie Lee’s life in the Cotswolds immediately following World War I, and reminded me of A. J. Cronin’s The Green Years, being told by a young boy of a poor family. I thought this book was quite lovely in places and a bit bogged down in others. It had marvelous potential that it dropped just short of reaching.There is a story about two “grannies” who live next door to the Lee family, rivals and grudging enemies, their story made me think of two elderly women I knew when I was a child myself.Speaking of Granny Trill he says, ”although she had a clock, she kept it simply for the tick, its hands having dropped off years ago. This seemed to sum up a lot of the aura around this book, a kind of unmeasured timelessness. Another story of an elderly couple who were removed, quite against their wishes, to the workhouse, dredged up shades of Dickens and the cruelty of age in a society where few could care for their own needs and even fewer could take on the burden of caring for another. These stories were marvelous written and poignant and gave me a true sense of the life in this small village before the advent of machinery and automobiles opened it to the greater world.On the other hand, there are long passages about church festivals and group outings that, while interesting, seem to plod on past their necessity. It is this disjointed meandering that keeps this book from earning a higher rating from me.I must say that this is a rather short, quick read and has enough to make it a worthwhile read. I would never discourage anyone from reading it and would wholly recommend it as a nice way to get a true feeling for life in a small English village in the early parts of the twentieth century.
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  • Irene
    January 1, 1970
    This is a highly atmospheric lyrically written memoire of a childhood in rural England in the 1920s. One of seven children raised by a slightly eccentric mother in relative poverty, this could have been a story of physical and psychic deprivation. Rather, the author leaves the reader nostalgic for a simpler, more contented time.
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    It is 1917 and Laurie Lee and his family have just arrived in the village of Slad in Gloucestershire for the first time. Their new home is nestled deep in the valley, warmed by open fires and water is got from a pump outside the back door. It is two families that have come together, the elder children are from the first marriage; his father re-married when their mother died, and had a second family before going off to war. Even though his father is not there, it is a happy childhood. The war rea It is 1917 and Laurie Lee and his family have just arrived in the village of Slad in Gloucestershire for the first time. Their new home is nestled deep in the valley, warmed by open fires and water is got from a pump outside the back door. It is two families that have come together, the elder children are from the first marriage; his father re-married when their mother died, and had a second family before going off to war. Even though his father is not there, it is a happy childhood. The war reaches its end and the village celebrates; the family lives in hope of seeing their father again now it has ended. It was not to be.Soon he was old enough to attend school. It was split into two classes, infants and Big Ones, separated by a partition. It was here that he was brought together with all the characters of the village and started to forge friendships that would remain with him. The teachers were very different to those today, harsher and often brutal, they had little scope for tolerance, demanding only obedience. Life in a rural community was as much about the daily life and way that the seasons slowed moved on slowly. Singing carols around the village at Christmas starting with the squire, skating on the frozen pond, to the balmy days of summer spent playing games in the fields. Its roots clutched the slope like a giant hand, holding the hill in place. Its trunk writhed with power, threw off veils of green dust, rose towering into the air, branched into a thousand shaded alleys, became a city for owls and squirrels. I had thought such trees to be as old as the earth, I never dreamed that a man could make them.Lee is such a lyrical author, writing about this tiny piece of England that was forever changed after the First World War. It is not shown through rose tinted glasses; this was tough at times, death was a frequent occurrence in his family and with neighbours and other villagers. The hard work was tempered by simple pleasures. This glimpse of a time long past, of a place that he loved and made him the man he was to become when he walked away at the age of 19. Thoughly enjoyable book that is really too short.
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  • Eleanor
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book a great many years ago and remembered it with affection. I found it to be just as delightful the second time around. Lee's writing is lyrical and reminiscent of Dylan Thomas in many places. He recalls a way of life in his Cotswold village which has gone forever, and a family of full and half siblings revolving around their loving, disorganised mother.Very beautiful, and now of course I want to read his other books again.
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  • Beth Bonini
    January 1, 1970
    This memoir is more poetry than prose at times, and I think you need to be in the right mood for its lush charms. I've started it several times over the years and it didn't quite 'take' -- and then, suddenly it was just the right book and I was completely entranced by it. If you read to know how another person's experience feels, this is a wonderful book. If you are emotionally drawn to the English countryside, if you hanker after reminiscences from a by-gone era, then this is absolutely the rig This memoir is more poetry than prose at times, and I think you need to be in the right mood for its lush charms. I've started it several times over the years and it didn't quite 'take' -- and then, suddenly it was just the right book and I was completely entranced by it. If you read to know how another person's experience feels, this is a wonderful book. If you are emotionally drawn to the English countryside, if you hanker after reminiscences from a by-gone era, then this is absolutely the right book for you. Perhaps it is a sepia-toned portrait, made larger than life by a vivid imagination -- but whatever, it felt like a living, breathing sort of story to me.The book opens with a startling, memorable image: "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." Laurie Lee and his sprawling family moved to the tiny village of Slad, Gloucestershire just before the end of the first World War. They lived -- 8 children, and one fanciful and haphazard mother -- in an old stone house which regularly flooded. The father is absent; gone to live in London, and work as a civil servant. He had married beneath him in social class, (indeed he married his housekeeper, Lee's mother), and then he casts off two families -- the children of his first marriage, and the children (of which Laurie Lee was the middle of three sons) of his second. As Lee tells us, many times and in a variety of ways, it was the end of the era. The world of agriculture, the horse, the finely drawn lines of class - but with everyone attending church together, and living and dying together - was entirely unchanged from previous centuries. But then the war came, and then the motor car, and the old ways splintered and crumbled. This is a book of superbly quotable passages; Lee's exuberant use of language and descriptive powers beg to be read aloud, reread and underlined. As soon as I read it, I wanted to read it again -- just to write down all of the bits which moved and amused me. Let me give you an example of a paragraph which reads like a poem:"Myself, my family, my generation were born in a world of silence; a world of hard work and necessary patience, of backs bent to the ground, hands massaging the crops, of waiting on weather and growth; of villages like ships in the empty landscapes and the long walking distances between them; of white narrow roads, rutted by hooves and cartwheels, innocent of oil or petrol, down which people passed rarely, and almost never for pleasure, and the horse was the fastest thing moving."The book follows a somewhat chronological progression, beginning with his first memories and early school days and then ending with his older sisters being courted and the family gradually breaking up. I liked all of it, but the chapters which particularly engrossed and intrigued me were: Grannies in the Wainscot, Mother, Winter and Summer and The Uncles. Lee is peerless when writing about the natural world, but he does an exceptional character portrait as well. As I was reading this book, I also read a recently published Folio which combines Lee's artwork and his only daughter's reminiscences of him. In addition to being a writer, he was also an accomplished musician, painter and photographer. How this genius of a man sprouted from his particular origins is one of life's mysteries . . .
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars - I thought I would adore this memoir, and parts of it were enthralling. But some chapters I skimmed through because they bored me. I can't pinpoint what made those particular parts less interesting to me, but it was a small enough issue that I will read the second book of the trilogy at some point. I liked Laurie and his tales better once he got a little older, so the second half of the book was best for me. I loved his description of starting school since it so accurately showed the 3.5 stars - I thought I would adore this memoir, and parts of it were enthralling. But some chapters I skimmed through because they bored me. I can't pinpoint what made those particular parts less interesting to me, but it was a small enough issue that I will read the second book of the trilogy at some point. I liked Laurie and his tales better once he got a little older, so the second half of the book was best for me. I loved his description of starting school since it so accurately showed the strange expectations that some children have about what school will actually be like. And I wished I could have had such colorful uncles in my family as he.
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  • Frank Callaghan
    January 1, 1970
    This was probably the first paperback I properly read. Back in the early 1960s, at school, I found a copy. I had never been a reader of books, despite being at Grammar School and good at English, I was not a reader, unless it was comics or books of facts. But I was good at art, and I LOVED the cover. The scratchy pen and ink illustration on the cover of the original publication was brilliant, and encouraged me to open the pages and read. I was transfixed. The artist bit of me was lulled by the p This was probably the first paperback I properly read. Back in the early 1960s, at school, I found a copy. I had never been a reader of books, despite being at Grammar School and good at English, I was not a reader, unless it was comics or books of facts. But I was good at art, and I LOVED the cover. The scratchy pen and ink illustration on the cover of the original publication was brilliant, and encouraged me to open the pages and read. I was transfixed. The artist bit of me was lulled by the poetry in the writing, the description, the smells and flavour of the words. I loved it, and from that day have been a non-stop reader of books of all sorts. I would now find life very lonely without books.In my professional career, 21 years a College Principal, I taught Art and Design. One of the best courses I ever taught was Advanced GNVQ Art and Design, and within it there was a unit on 'Illustration'. In looking at various forms of illustration, I always grabbed hold of my old original 'Cider with Rosie', held together with tape, faded and much loved. Apart from the cover, the book has many beautiful pen and ink illustrations, each one capturing the text so beautifully. I would read the book to 18 year old students and always they were captivated by it. I like to feel that it was partly responsible for some beautiful illustration work that the students produced.As for me, retired now, I have just bought a new copy. I will continue to read it regularly and remember how this book started me off on my reading career.
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  • Claire McAlpine
    January 1, 1970
    A somewhat nostalgic memoir of childhood in a Cotswold village, remembered from when the author is about 3 years old, surrounded by sisters and siblings, the father having long abandoned the family and leaving his housekeeper who became his wife to raise the children of his first marriage and the four he gave her.Rather than a tale of struggle and poverty, in Laurie Lee's hands, it comes across as a bundle of memories and anecdotes that celebrate village life, sibling love, old lady madness and A somewhat nostalgic memoir of childhood in a Cotswold village, remembered from when the author is about 3 years old, surrounded by sisters and siblings, the father having long abandoned the family and leaving his housekeeper who became his wife to raise the children of his first marriage and the four he gave her.Rather than a tale of struggle and poverty, in Laurie Lee's hands, it comes across as a bundle of memories and anecdotes that celebrate village life, sibling love, old lady madness and making the most of it.Laurie Lee paints a picture of village life that is vivid and alive with character and memory as if it happened today. He tells it all but never loses his respect for any of the inhabitants, even at their most villainous, he narrates their history with compassion and mild regret. His narrative captures the passing of time, the slow encroachment of city life and innovation that will ultimately kill that old village way of life that encapsulated them all, from the Squire down to the struggling newborn. He does so by sharing the stories and anecdotes of others seen through his eyes, rather than turning his gaze inward.A wonderful narrative of a not so distant time, lost forever.My complete review here at Word by Word.
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  • Richard
    January 1, 1970
    I very much enjoyed this book. Certainly, Lee does not sentimentalise his childhood. Though the language is often strikingly beautiful there is darkness in his portrayal of both the village people and the poverty of his upbringing. However, I think that the total message is that the awful conditions can--in a strange way--be a kind of inspiration for the spirit.I was re-reading an old 1961 edition which has an extended "Afterword" by J.B. Priestley. You might be interested in one of his insights I very much enjoyed this book. Certainly, Lee does not sentimentalise his childhood. Though the language is often strikingly beautiful there is darkness in his portrayal of both the village people and the poverty of his upbringing. However, I think that the total message is that the awful conditions can--in a strange way--be a kind of inspiration for the spirit.I was re-reading an old 1961 edition which has an extended "Afterword" by J.B. Priestley. You might be interested in one of his insights which, however one might disagree with it, does raise some interesting questions:"This is an account of what was, in contemporary terms, a shockingly limited, downright 'under privileged' childhood. . . . These children were fed anyhow, poorly dressed, hardly ever went anywhere, obtained such scraps of education as they could pick up, and there in their remote, old-fashioned village, might almost have been living in the Middle Ages. In theory the limitations of their life were appalling. But in practice they were not entirely a bad thing. As I suggested before, there might have been some loss, as well as gain, when the change, the improvements, the progress finally arrived. To begin with, these children made the most of their family life. They may have seen little but the village and the surrounding countryside, but--and this is certainly true of Laurie Lee himself--what they saw and knew they really saw and knew, as many urban people now never see or know anything. The colour, the flavour, the richness, the wonder of life, were all experienced and enjoyed."What seems to me chiefly missing now for vast masses of people--and in much of the writing about these people--is a whole dimension in depth. Their lives may be broader, free from the severe limitations, the old rural narrowness we discover here, but they are also much shallower. Their actual experience, not what happens to their bodies but what happens inside their heads, is therefore less exciting, stimulating, satisfying, spiritually rewarding."To illustrate his point Priestley quotes a passage which describes the uncles:" . . . I think of them still in the image they gave me: they were bards and oracles each, like a ring of squat megaliths on some local hill, bruised by weather and scarred with old glories. they were the horsemen and brawlers of another age, and their lives spoke its long farewell. Spoke, too, of campaigns on desert marches, of Kruger's cannon and Flanders mud: of a world which moved at the same pace as Caesar's, and of that empire greater than his--through which they had fought, sharp-eyed and anonymous and seen the first outposts crumble. . . ."Priestley's comment is:"It is this dimension in depth, with its sense of time and feeling for what is symbolical, that gives such passages as this, of which there are scores in these chapters, their beauty, their poignancy, their magic."And in that last comment, I think Priestley has isolated the spiritual spring that makes this book so memorable.
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  • Nicola
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful memoir about a post WWI childhood spent in an old English cottage in often appalling conditions. Laurie Lee shows the enchantment but also the cold reality of the cold winters and lack of money. Growing up with a single mother and ever-present poverty, hunger and sickness, his childhood was no picnic. Still, under Laurie Lee's prose the humble cottage comes alive and almost assumes the role of another person. The sights, sounds and smells pour forth from the pages and they kept me en A wonderful memoir about a post WWI childhood spent in an old English cottage in often appalling conditions. Laurie Lee shows the enchantment but also the cold reality of the cold winters and lack of money. Growing up with a single mother and ever-present poverty, hunger and sickness, his childhood was no picnic. Still, under Laurie Lee's prose the humble cottage comes alive and almost assumes the role of another person. The sights, sounds and smells pour forth from the pages and they kept me enraptured.The scullery was a mine of all the minerals of living. Here I discovered water - a very different element from the green crawling scum that stank in the garden tub. You could pump it in pure blue gulps out of the ground, you could swing on the pump handle and it came out sparkling like liquid sky. And it broke and ran and shone on the tiled floor, or quivered in a jug, or weighted your clothes with cold. You could drink it, draw with it, froth it with soap, swim beetles across it, or fly it in bubbles in the air. You could put your head in it, and open your eyes, and see the sides of the bucket buckle, and hear your caught breath roar, and work your mouth like a fish, and smell the lime from the ground. There is a fair amount of light hearted humour as there always is when you look back on events in your past. Things which seemed so traumatic at the time like a village concert where Mr Lee had to perform as a child had me laughing in shared remembrance of my own childhood terrors at similar events. Smirking with misery I walked to the stage. Eileen's face was as white as a minim. She sat at the piano, placed the music crooked, I straightened it, it feel to the ground. I groped to retrieve it; we looked at one another with hatred; the audience was still as death. Eileen tried to give me an A, but struck B instead, and I tuned up like an ape threading needles. At last we were ready, I raised my fiddle; and Eileen was off like a bolting horse. I caught her up in the middle of the piece - which I believe was a lullaby - and after playing the repeats, only twice as fast, we just stopped, frozen motionless, spent.This novel delivers just what it says on the tin. Don't read it for thrills, read it for smiles, laughter and some pretty searing honesty about what an 'idyllic' childhood sometimes actually entailed. You had to be tough to survive.I loved this memoir and it was perfect to listen to while I wandered through country fields with my dog gamboling by my side.
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  • Ali
    January 1, 1970
    Cider with Rosie is the first of three memoirs that Laurie Lee wrote about his life, this first book the account of his childhood and adolescence in Gloucestershire in the early twentieth century. Born to the second wife of his absent father, his mother, brothers and half-sisters move to their cottage in Slad village in the final summer of the First World War when Laurie or Loll as he is frequently called is just three years old. “I was set down from the carrier’s cart at the age of three; and t Cider with Rosie is the first of three memoirs that Laurie Lee wrote about his life, this first book the account of his childhood and adolescence in Gloucestershire in the early twentieth century. Born to the second wife of his absent father, his mother, brothers and half-sisters move to their cottage in Slad village in the final summer of the First World War when Laurie or Loll as he is frequently called is just three years old. “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. The June grass, amongst which I stood, was taller than I was, and I wept. I had never been so close to grass before. It towered above me and all around me, each blade tattooed with tiger-skins of sunlight. It was knife-edged, dark, and a wicked green, thick as a forest and alive with grasshoppers that chirped and chattered and leapt through the air like monkeys.”Beautifully chronicling a traditional way of life Cider with Rosie also portrays the changes that those years after the Great War brought; such as the coming of motor cars. The cottage built of Cotswold stone, was prone to flooding in heavy rain, when Annie – Laurie’s mother would shout at everyone to rise from their beds and take up brooms to sweep the flood water down the drain. Laurie paints a wonderfully affectionate portrait of his mother – a woman who always kept the bus waiting as she flew around looking for shoes, hat or bag. Having married a widower with five children, Annie, gave him four more children – before she was abandoned by him. She brought up both his families, never losing hope that one day he would return to her.Full review: https://heavenali.wordpress.com/2016/...
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  • Bethany
    January 1, 1970
    I'm sure many of you goodreaders experience this, but whilst reading a book I'm mentally giving it stars before I'm done. (It's a reflex now, sadly.) While I was reading Cider With Rosie, my mental star level fluctuated between 3 and 5 stars, and I thought I would end up giving it 4; but as I am thinking about it now, about 5 hours after finishing, I don't feel compelled to give it much more than 3.It took a while for me to get into the book. As with most books of this type, there's no cohesive I'm sure many of you goodreaders experience this, but whilst reading a book I'm mentally giving it stars before I'm done. (It's a reflex now, sadly.) While I was reading Cider With Rosie, my mental star level fluctuated between 3 and 5 stars, and I thought I would end up giving it 4; but as I am thinking about it now, about 5 hours after finishing, I don't feel compelled to give it much more than 3.It took a while for me to get into the book. As with most books of this type, there's no cohesive storyline, but each chapter (or section) has a theme it explored. Not "theme" in the highfalutin sense of the word. More like vignettes, only not quite. Somewhere in the middle I was won over and started enjoying it more than I thought I would. I loved Laurie Lee's sensuous, lavender (not purple, mind you) prose. My favourite section was the one entitled "Mother". It was, of course, about Laurie's mother, and it was ever so poignant. She was a chimerical and thwarted woman, unparalleled in the village she came from. That section was beyond wonderful.By the end, though, I was back to not enjoying it as much. The last chapter didn't sit very well with me, though I can't pinpoint why. It was the most sensual chapter, and while not explicitly so, I think that for me, personally, him ending the book on that note jarred the idyllic watercolour he had spent the whole book painting. It was also the chapter which revealed what "Cider with Rosie" means, which made me feel like he had spent the whole book building up to this, as if it were the most important thing.I don't really know, though.Alright, I'd say 3.5 stars - it was lovely to read, but overall lacking something I needed to feel a stronger, lasting connection.
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  • Ellinor
    January 1, 1970
    Cider with Rosie is a childhood/youth memoir by Laurie Lee. Lee grew up in a small village in Gloucestershire around the time of the end of the Great War. He was born into a family with many children and was raised by his mother and older sisters (his father stayed in London after the war and did not return).What sets Cider with Rosie apart from other (childhood) memoirs is the way it is structured: instead of using a chronological order, Laurie Lee groups his memories into thematic chapters. Th Cider with Rosie is a childhood/youth memoir by Laurie Lee. Lee grew up in a small village in Gloucestershire around the time of the end of the Great War. He was born into a family with many children and was raised by his mother and older sisters (his father stayed in London after the war and did not return).What sets Cider with Rosie apart from other (childhood) memoirs is the way it is structured: instead of using a chronological order, Laurie Lee groups his memories into thematic chapters. There are chapters on school, his mother, the neighbours etc. I especially liked the chapter on his uncles who are very original. Other things that make the book special are the beautiful language Laurie Lee uses in contrast with how people talk and the perspective from which it is told: other memoirs likes Angela's Ashes are told by an adult but through the eyes of a child; things aren't commented or critiziced but told as they are. In Cider with Rosie the memories are told through adult eyes and events are sometimes put into a negative light (e.g. the attempted rape). This gives the book a different tone and doesn't romantize what happened.Cider with Rosie is a book well worth reading as it also gives a glance at village life as it doesn't exist anymore. (I received a free digital copy via netgalley)
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  • Griselda
    January 1, 1970
    More an extended poem than a piece of prose, this book is best read at a single sitting. There seems to be no natural place to pause as it flows inexorably, like the seasons it describes, from its beginning to its end. Rich in imagery, but with an underlying and gentle teasing by the author of his younger self, this book is as valuable as a piece of English rural social history as it is as a volume of autobiography.
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  • Nicola
    January 1, 1970
    Never have I read such flowery prose and enjoyed it so immensely. The rich texture of this book is far more important that its plot or, even, its delightful characters. It recreates an atmosphere of a messy, beautiful, tragic, hilarious, fully-lived childhood, with all its misunderstandings and secret understandings. For some reason, the chapter on the feuding grandmothers cracked me up to no end. I also felt myself becoming increasingly more uncomfortable towards the end, but this fascinates me Never have I read such flowery prose and enjoyed it so immensely. The rich texture of this book is far more important that its plot or, even, its delightful characters. It recreates an atmosphere of a messy, beautiful, tragic, hilarious, fully-lived childhood, with all its misunderstandings and secret understandings. For some reason, the chapter on the feuding grandmothers cracked me up to no end. I also felt myself becoming increasingly more uncomfortable towards the end, but this fascinates me as well, for it's partly the less innocence and the potential brutality that comes with knowledge and age. I can't wait to return to this book in 40 years and see my reactions then--how odd.
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    Lee talks about growing up in the Cotswolds in the early 20th century, in a time when rural life hadn't caught up with the technology of the time. Idyllic in some respects but also harsh to be poor and without a father. His writing style is quite poetic and somewhat fanciful but it's definitely a glimpse into another time and life.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    From BBC Radio 4 Extra:Dramatisation of Laurie Lee's account of growing up in a remote Cotswold village in the 1920s. With Tim McInnerny and Niamh Cusack.
  • Steve Haywood
    January 1, 1970
    I picked this up a few months ago, an old 1970's penguin paperback edition, and it has sat on a bookshelf ever since, but a couple of weeks ago I felt like a change and so picked it up. I knew it was non-fiction, a sort of autobiography-memoir and considered a classic but that was about it. Reading the couple of paragraphs in the front of the book I learned that it was a standard text for American high schools, at least in the 70's. My own experience of school texts didn't bode well, but I eager I picked this up a few months ago, an old 1970's penguin paperback edition, and it has sat on a bookshelf ever since, but a couple of weeks ago I felt like a change and so picked it up. I knew it was non-fiction, a sort of autobiography-memoir and considered a classic but that was about it. Reading the couple of paragraphs in the front of the book I learned that it was a standard text for American high schools, at least in the 70's. My own experience of school texts didn't bode well, but I eagerly dived in nonetheless.Cider with Rosie is a memoir of author & poet Laurie Lee's childhood growing up in a rural Cotswolds village in the early years of the twentieth century (he was born in 1910). The book is organised thematically, with each chapter covering a different topic: First Light, Village School, The Kitchen, Mother, Winter and Summer being a few of them. The book jumps about a bit in time, but more or less progresses chronologically with the last few chapters mostly covering the author's teenage years. There are two things that really make this book stand out from the crowd. The first is the era which it covers. As Laurie Lee says it, life for successive generations had hardly changed in the valley where he grew up for over a thousand years. The early 20th century was a time of change though, with many of the rural traditions and practices going back to time immemorial swept away in a few short years. Lee successfully captures this time of change, just old enough to remember the old ways but with an eye on the future too. In this book he quietly, gently chronicles the last days of this now lost world.The second thing which really stands out is Laurie Lee's writing style. One reviewer described his writing as 'lavender prose', not too overly florid and ornate to distract from the story being told but beautiful, lyrical prose that draws you in and paints a vivid picture with well chosen words. Rather than describing the night as dark, it is "ink black", the tiles on the roofs "grew a kind of golden moss which sparkled like crystallized honey". My favourite parts were the chapter about the Kitchen, and the description of carol singing at Christmas. Cider with Rosie is the first in Laurie Lee's autobiographical trilogy, followed on by 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning' about his leaving the village of his birth and travelling to Spain, and 'A Moment of War' about his time taking part in the Spanish Civil War. My impression overall? A truly excellent, beautiful book which captures a world lost to time and the rapid advancement of technology, industry and market economics. Is today's world a better place than the time of this book? In some ways no doubt, but in others probably not. It's also a short book, only a bit over 200 pages, so is quite a quick read (you'll be wishing there was more). 10/10.
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