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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (Bloomsbury…
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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (Bloomsbury Classics) (original 1985; edition 1991)

by Jeanette Winterson

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4,392871,119 (3.76)1 / 373
Member:gcoupe
Title:Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (Bloomsbury Classics)
Authors:Jeanette Winterson
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (1991), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
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Tags:gay fiction

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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (1985)

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English (85)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (87)
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
It's been a decade since I read this book, so while the details are fuzzy, my overall impression remains strong. A lesbian coming of age in a Pentecostal community, my memory is that the story deals intricately with its characters, and resisting the urge to paint anyone with too broad a brush. Definitely a book worth returning to. ( )
  jscape2000 | Apr 30, 2015 |
Jeanette Winterson's novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a semi-autobiographical tale of her experiences growing up in a evangelical Christian home under the direction of her fanatical mother, who believes her daughter is destined to be a missionary. Related with grace and a wry witty charm, Winterson paints childhood anecdotes such as scaring the other children at her school with her grim religious art projects (not to mention alarming the teachers), the ongoing battle her mother has with the neighbors next door, and her own growing realization that her true self and her mother's church cannot co-exist peacefully.

It would be easy to paint her church as evil or renounce them completely, but Winterson gives them the dignity that a child brought up believing in something has, and still clearly struggles with her own love and faith when it has seemingly betrayed you. Her mother at one point revises history - paints her white roses red, and insists they grew that way - and Winterson's pang of betrayal echo that of her first love renouncing her feelings and the church's own belief that she is possessed and has been given too much power that should go to the men of the church.

Interspersed with parables, fairy tales, and passages that are evocative of so many fire-and-brimstone sermons, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a thoughtful, moving, insightful, and often very funny, coming-of-age story. ( )
1 vote kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
This is Jeanette Winterson's first book, which made her reputation and is probably her best known work. It was very interesting to come to this after having read her more recent brilliant, stark and visceral memoir "Why be happy when you can be normal", because the two books are in some ways companion pieces that cover much of the same ground - a childhood dominated by a maniacal religious mother and her missionary community, and the repercussions of her first lesbian relationships and the consequent split from church and family. This version is less bleak but more playful, humorous and fictional than the memoir, and is interleaved with passages of fairy tales. A very enjoyable read. ( )
  bodachliath | Apr 22, 2015 |
Highly recommended. Wonderful. Beautifully written and incisive about fundamentalist parenting. This novel is heartbreaking given its autobiographical basis. I actually liked it much more than I liked the first thing I read by her, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, which is a memoir. (Although it was the latter that inspired me to read the former, in the first place.)

Like most books about growing up in fundamentalist religious environments, Oranges provides a fascinating glimpse into this life. I read lots of books, fiction and non, about insular communities like these; they're my catharsis the way some people read/watch horror. I thought this one was especially well done in the way that it juxtaposed pretty abnormal beliefs and actions with a child's desire for parental love. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Mar 21, 2015 |
"Then one week she wasn't there any more.
There was nothing I could do but stare and stare at the whelks.
Whelks are strange and comforting."

The perfect mix of confusion and love. A narrative always just shy of disjointed, trailing thoughts that stumble along in all the right ways. ( )
1 vote ternary | Feb 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 85 (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 (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeanette Wintersonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lammers, GeertjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mattila, RaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'When thick rinds are used the top must be thoroughly skimmed, or a scum will form marring the final appearance.'
From
The Making of Marmalade by Mrs Beeton.
'Oranges are not the only fruit.'
-- Nell Gwynn
Dedication
For Gill Saunders and Fang the cat
TO PHILLIPPA BREWSTER WHO WAS THE BEGINNING
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)
Quotations
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.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:19 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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