Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette…

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985)

by Jeanette Winterson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,839107956 (3.76)1 / 432
  1. 70
    Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson (Anonymous user, Tinker_Books)
    Tinker_Books: Independent twin Novel to Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson.
  2. 20
    A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell (WilliamQuill)
    WilliamQuill: For similar treatment of lost faith by a young girl.
  3. 10
    Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell (bertilak)
  4. 01
    My Fundamentalist Education: A Memoir of a Divine Girlhood by Christine Rosen (bertilak)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (104)  Swedish (2)  French (1)  All (107)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
Heavily inot Christian interpretations and motivation using the Revelation chapters for a story about two girls loving each other and the banishing techniques of the church. Not a particularly pleasant read for 2017 era
  Annabel1954 | Apr 18, 2017 |
This novel which has been described as semi-autobiographical (Winterson says in the Introduction, "Is Oranges an autobiographical novel? No not at all and yes of course."), tells the story of young Jeanette who is adopted by an English Pentecostal family. Jeanette believes she will grow up to become a missionary and writes sermons and preaches. She also falls in love with a young girl and her mother and other members of the church pray to get the demons out.

This novel had an interesting structure - each chapter was named from a book of the old testament, in order starting from Genesis. There were also two other stories being told within the main story of Jeanette - one about Sir Perceval as he searched for the holy grail and another about a young woman who became a wizard's apprentice.

A 1001 book, I thought it was well done. ( )
1 vote LisaMorr | Apr 14, 2017 |
Look, why oranges anyway? When one of my students asked that in class, we came up with a tremendous list of resonances and symbolisms that the oranges have in this novel-- the cover of my edition, at least, makes a sort of "forbidden fruit" interpretation obvious. One of the meanings of the oranges comes from fairy tale narratives embedded in the text of the novel, like the tale of Sir Perceval or the tale of Winnet. These are the stories that young Jeanette needed to hear but never did, the kind of stories that could have helped her operate in the world, but she never received; she only had one source of stories, her mother's (often warped) Bible tales. She had a steady diet of oranges, so to speak.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is filled with embedded narratives like the fairy tales. This novel, as Mikhail Bakhtin would say all novels are, is heteroglossic, different-tongued. Bakhtin reminds us that you can't separate the form from the content; the fairy tales aren't a sideshow or a diversion, they're part of the meaning of the text as much as the plot is. Everything in a novel refracts the intentions of the author. So why the fairy tales? We should remember that, as Jeanette/Winterson tells us, stories are "a way of explaining the universe while leaving the universe unexplained" (93). Every story explains something and fails to explain something else; we all forget the aspects of the past that make us uncomfortable. So what can we do about this? As we're told (95), the world is a sandwich made up of other peoples stories, so you need to add your own mustard! Or, go even further, and make your own sandwiches.

Jeanette's mother never gets it. She only has one story. She reflects near the end of the novel, "After all… oranges are not the only fruit" (172), but this is in the context of her feeding a group of houseguests only pineapple! She's just substituted one universal story for another. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit argues that the world is heteroglossic, that everyone needs a different story, and the worst thing that you can do is fail to recognize that. Jeanette grows up and loses the simplicity of her old world, the one where oranges were the only fruit, but she gains a new world with new stories-- and yet the old stories remain there too. She can go back and see her mother, and Jeanette is different but the same, and her mother is different but the same.

We're always finding new stories and discarding old ones when they don’t work. Jeanette’s mother’s stories work for her, but Jeanette needs a different set of stories, and yet the old stories remain inside her. Our sandwiches need mustard. We need oranges and pineapples and many other fruits. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is filled with different stories because we all need to be filled with different stories if we're going to survive.
1 vote Stevil2001 | Mar 10, 2017 |
Love anything by Winterson. A joy to read! ( )
  MicheleMG | Feb 1, 2017 |
Semi-autobiographical story of Jeanette Winterson's life with her Pentecostal adoptive parents and Jeanette's coming of age and discovery of her self as lesbian. The story of oranges are not the only fruit has some very interesting devices. The oranges being the only fruit symbolizing heterosexuality among other things. The chapters of the early childhood in the names of books from the Bible. The use of myth, Perceval and Winnet added to the picture of Jeanette's life as she was disconnected from others, wandering, trying to find a place in the world. ( )
  Kristelh | Dec 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
Narratively, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is built on a particular irony - a contradiction in which it takes some sly delight....The novel may be a story of self-liberation for a secular age, but it recalls a traditional sense that a person's story is made significant by reference to the Bible. Why should any individual's story matter, after all? Because it follows the pattern of God-given precept and God-directed narrative. All the early heroes and heroines of the English novel - Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Richardson's Pamela and Clarissa - make sense of their peculiar lives by reference to the Bible

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeanette Wintersonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lammers, GeertjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leigh, DennisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mattila, RaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
'When thick rinds are used the top must be thoroughly skimmed, or a scum will form marring the final appearance.'
The Making of Marmalade by Mrs Beeton.
'Oranges are not the only fruit.'
-- Nell Gwynn
For Gill Saunders and Fang the cat
First words
Like most people I lived for a long time with my mother and father. My father liked to watch the wrestling, my mother liked to wrestle; it didn't matter what. She was in the white corner and that was that.
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit was written during the winter of 1983 and the spring of 1984. (Introduction)
Everyone thinks their own situation most tragic. I am no exception.
Going back after a long time will make you mad, because the people you left behind do not like to think of you changed, will treat you as they always did, accuse you of being indifferent, when you are only different.
Of course that is not the whole story, but that is the way with stories; we make them what we will. It's a way of explaining the universe while leaving the universe unexplained, it's a way of keeping it all alive, not boxing it into time. Everyone who tells a story tells it differently, just to remind us that everybody sees it differently.
She was Old Testament through and through. Not for her the meek and paschal Lamb, she was out there, up front with the prophets, and much given to sulking under trees when the appropriate destruction didn't materialise. Quite often it did, her will or the Lord's I can't say.
I didn't know quite what fornicating was, but I had read about it in Deuteronomy, and I knew it was a sin. But why was it so noisy? Most sins you did quietly so as not to get caught.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802135161, Paperback)

Winner of the Whitbread Prize for best first fiction, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a coming-out novel from Winterson, the acclaimed author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. The narrator, Jeanette, cuts her teeth on the knowledge that she is one of God’s elect, but as this budding evangelical comes of age, and comes to terms with her preference for her own sex, the peculiar balance of her God-fearing household crumbles.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The coming-of-age story of Jess, the adopted daughter of a deeply religious woman, who grows up isolated and insulated in the north of England in the 1960's. Jess meets Melanie, and the two teenagers fall in love, greatly upsetting Jess's mother and her congregation.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
33 avail.
183 wanted
2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.76)
0.5 2
1 19
1.5 4
2 77
2.5 29
3 254
3.5 92
4 479
4.5 50
5 246

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 118,643,771 books! | Top bar: Always visible