Review: Oranges Aren’t The Only Fruit

Book: Oranges Aren’t The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Publisher: Grove House, 1995
Genre: Literature
Source + Date Read: Purchased + March 2013
Recommend: Everyone should read this! It is utterly brilliant!
Book Pro’s: It’s a touching coming-of-age story of a young female trying to figure out her sexuality and life.
Book Con’s: I didn’t have a clue as to how things were happening. Very post-modern.

Summary: Jeanette, orphaned sensitive, intelligent and rebellious, is adopted by a family of evangelists and gloomy industrialized north of Great Britain. Her childhood becomes a surreal blend of sermons, catechism, rattle of tambourine in church orchestra and late adaptation to the rigors of the educational system. However, as Jeanette approaching adolescence, a career missionary to start preparing parents to lose their aura, the young discover their sexuality at all orthodox and family silence falls apart. Jeanette will have to choose between the truth and the truth of her soul Bible and courageous decision that will be the beginning of a path winding between original and unusual landmarks of destiny.
Reading Challenges: Color-Coded Challenge
More Information: GoodReads

I really do love this cover. It includes all of the necessary elements that appear in the book.

I honestly can’t even tell you where this was set, just that the story takes place in a poor dreary little British town. It’s a religious place where people aspire to be missionaries and attack each other with religious conviction.

Another gay book that I didn’t like. I’m picky about them I guess- I’ve read a lot of LGBTQ lit and some are great and some just confuse me. This was one of the confusing set (and for a number of reasons too! I’m justified- sort of).

As told through young Jeanette’s eyes, we follow the narrator throughout her entire life. We see her struggles, her fears and moments of peace and empowerment. She takes an emotionally charged journey from a religiously charged child to that of a young woman admitting her preference for other women. What we the readers don’t see, is how the hell all of this happened (in a way).

Oranges Aren’t The Only Fruit is told in a post-modern style, meaning, there is no set linear path for time or even plot. Rather Winterson chooses to jump back and forth between past, present and future. This isn’t necessarily bad, but readers don’t get a full understanding of the narrator’s life. Instead, everything feels like a set of vignettes or tableau’s and that we, the readers, are only privileged to read a selection or understand a portion of the narrators life. It makes you think that there is much more going on beneath the story, but like a covert diary, we haven’t quite unlocked the secret to everything yet and must wait and see, must wait and ponder and hope that we will.

If you’re into that sort of thing, then this book will make you quiver in all the right places. I’m a bit more traditional, I want the whole story. I’m a bit of a greedy reader, I demand the whole truth, the ugly and beautiful, mundane and exciting bits to someone’s story and Winterson couldn’t give it to me. I also related quite a bit to Jeanette’s story and wanted more.

So really, there isn’t much wrong with the book, but beware of the post-modern style. It’s a doozey.



About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Literature. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Review: Oranges Aren’t The Only Fruit

  1. Pingback: Quirky’s Reads 2013 | Bitches With Books

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