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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (Bloomsbury…

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

by Jeanette Winterson

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4,419891,108 (3.76)1 / 379
Title:Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (Bloomsbury Classics)
Authors:Jeanette Winterson
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (1991), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:gay fiction

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


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English (87)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (89)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
I'm rereading this while I wait for Winterson's memoir "Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal" to come in at the library. Good grief, it's even better than I remembered -- and this isn't the first time I've reread it. ( )
  Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
A short -- and, as I understand it, at least semi-autobiographical -- novel about a girl who is raised by an obsessively religious mother in a strict evangelical church. It's an upbringing she embraces, until her awakening sexuality puts her at odds with it. Or, rather, puts it at odds with her.

It's an interesting novel, because it's primarily a fairly straightforward story about growing up. But the narrative is interspersed with lyrical philosophical musings and snippets of fairy tales. The significance of some of these is beautifully clear, while others feel to me as if they must have deeper meanings I don't fully comprehend. All of it, however, is well-written and thoughtful, and has, for all its strangeness, a certain feeling of emotional truth. ( )
  bragan | May 9, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (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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'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.
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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 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)

(summary from another edition)

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