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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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4,543931,055 (3.76)1 / 386
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

Work details

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

  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. 10
    Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell (bertilak)
  3. 10
    A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell (WilliamQuill)
    WilliamQuill: For similar treatment of lost faith by a young girl.
  4. 01
    My Fundamentalist Education: A Memoir of a Divine Girlhood by Christine Rosen (bertilak)
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Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
Oranges are not the only fruit by Jeanette Winterson - Excellent

I vaguely remember watching some of the TV adaptation years ago, so knew a little of the story, but loved this - read it in two sittings!

Semi-autobiographical, it is the story of a young girl adopted by a fanatically religious mother growing up in a Lancashire town and discovering her sexuality. I was warned about the style of writing, but I didn't find it an issue myself - in fact I found it eminently readable. Some of the 'Lancashire-isms' made me smile too - being a similar age and growing up in a similar town, I could easily picture some of that life.


Listed in the 1001 books you must read before you die http://www.listology.com/list/1001-books-you-must-read-you-die

Listed in The Guardian's 1000 best novels http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jan/23/bestbooks-fiction

Listed in the 102 Greatest Books by Women:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariannarebolini/how-many-of-the-greatest-books-by-women-...
( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
What a refreshingly odd book about a young girl growing up in an evangelical household in England and awakening to the fact that she is a lesbian...and there are lots of interesting sidebars and fables and colorful characters and every so often you run across something like this:

It is not possible to control the outside of yourself until you have mastered your breathing space. It is not possible to change anything until you understand the substance of that you wish to change. Of course people mutilate and modify, but these are fallen powers, and to change something that you do not understand is the true nature of evil.

It's quirky, but recommended. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
Honestly, I am not sure what I think of this book. There is a lot going on. I will just start a stream-of-consciousness review...

This is a book about a Christian extremist mother, who emotionally dominates her husband, micromanages her adopted daughter and fawns over her pastor.

She is a real nut, and I have met her before. She is every fundamental-evangelical-puritan-type who abhors sin and is curiously drawn to and manipulated by it without being aware of its hold on her. She wants to support missionaries, but won't show common decency and love to her neighbors, singing hymns at the top of her lungs while they are "fornicating", in order to irritate them. She is all about church work, to the exclusion of her duties as a wife, mother, friend, etc. God is her excuse for almost everything.

On the other side of the coin, this book is about Jeanette, her adopted daughter. So entrenched is she in her mother's religious fervor that she alienates herself from classmates at the public school, which she is ordered by the court to attend. Her class projects all have religious subjects, and not always positive or loving references. This is a religion that thrives on fear.

However, something is happening to Jeanette...something that will forever mark her as full of demons and sinful.

It's no secret that this is a coming-of-age and coming-out novel about a young lesbian girl in a rigidly Christian household, and I have read that it is semi-autobiographical. To me, though, there is just too much going on. Coming out gay is tough enough, but couple that with a fanatical mother and it's almost too much to bear. I was not as much pulling for Jeanette as I was pulling for her mother's demise. I despised that woman.

Don't think this is a book about a gay woman. It's not. While her lesbian experiences were not closely examined, they were on the periphery, as well as interesting characters who helped Jeanette along the way. It's the relationship with her mother and her relationship with her faith that took center stage, and made for an intriguing story. The book is beautifully written, with wit and wisdom, expertly weaving Jeanette's magical alter-ego in and out of the prose. It is about being entrenched in a dogma and slowly finding out that there are other views and perspectives that deserve attention. It is about being crafted into one person and slowing breaking out of that shell to be who you truly are. It is about eating oranges all your life, and awaking your taste buds as you finally try other fruit.

Recommended. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
At times hilarious, at other times unbearably sad, this story of a young lesbian's strange and painful upbringing in an evangelical community in 60's England is a quick but thought-provoking read.

Most troubling for me was the knowledge that this book is set in the 1960s but there are still young people today who are subjected to the same kind of unconscionable mistreatment by people who claim to love them. Repeatedly I found myself thinking "this kind of ignorance couldn't happen today," then having to remind myself that sadly, yes it can. ( )
  darushawehm | Oct 24, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (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 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)

» see all 2 descriptions

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