Referred to as his "most didactic novel", ''The Cider House Rules'' (1985) is John Irving's sixth published work. It centers around the story of [[HeartwarmingOrphan Homer Wells]], an orphan in the Maine town of St. Cloud's, and his caretakers: the resident doctor and head of the boy's division, [[FunctionalAddict Dr. Wilbur Larch]], and his two aides, [[TeamMom Nurse Angela]] and [[UnrequitedLoveLastsForever Nurse Edna]]. Dr. Larch raises Homer and trains him in obstetrics, but Homer is reluctant due to his mentor's performance of illegal abortions at the hospital, which Homer is morally opposed to. The novel highlights the importance of personal convictions and purpose and weighs the two sides of the abortion debate.
The book was made into a movie in 1999, starring Michael Caine and Tobey Maguire.
!! The book and film provide examples of:
* AdaptationDistillation - The film leaves out quite a bit of the story.
* BuryYourGays: [[spoiler: Melony.]]
* ButWeUsedACondom - Wally and Candy used a condom [[spoiler:which turns out to have been sabotaged. Later, Homer and Candy.]].
* CatchPhrase: "Goodnight, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England."
* CelibateHero - Dr. Larch.
* FastestGunInTheWest - Mr. Rose, with his knife.
* GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion - Averted with [[spoiler: Candy and Wally]], but later played straight with [[spoiler: Candy and Homer]].
* LittlestCancerPatient - Fuzzy, a fetal alcohol syndrome patient, is confined to an oxygen tent due to his damaged heart and severe asthma.
* MichaelCaine - Won an Oscar for his portrayal of Dr. Larch.
* PinballProtagonist - Homer, throughout parts of the novel.
* [[spoiler:ParentalIncest - Mr. Rose and his daughter, Rose Rose.]]
* RepetitiveName - Rose Rose.
* ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem - Mr. Rose's opinion of the [[TitleDrop Cider House rules]].
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight - Dr. Larch's decision to perform illegal abortions at St. Cloud's.
* SinkOrSwimFatherhood - Dr. Larch's situation after Homer's final adoption failure.