“Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit” by Jeanette Winterson

I had a break fr0m reading books for my English classes so I picked this book off my shelf and read it in a few hours. Emily got me the book a few months ago and I finally had the time to read it. As you can tell from previous posts, I really enjoy reading Winterson’s work so I knew from the start that I would love the book and I wasn’t wrong.

The story follows a narrator named Janette (ring any bells?) and her extremely (and I mean EXTREMELY) religious mother. Winterson is known for writing lesbian fiction and this book is no different. Though the story follows the religious extremes that the mother goes through to keep her daughter from sinning when she falls in love with a woman.

The edition I have is includes an introduction in which Winterson writes, “Is Oranges an autobiographical novel? No not at all and yes of course.” When I first read this I thought it might mean that the book is semi-autobiographical, but after finishing the novel I don’t think this is the case. For one, the ending would be impossible considering Winterson’s current life. Second, I don’t think Winterson could be this religious. I obviously don’t know her, but based on other works I’ve read, it doesn’t seem possible. What I think she meant by saying that the novel could be considered autobiographical is that she had to undergo difficult times by living as an openly gay individual.

I know I’m making the novel seem very heavy, but it does have it’s light moments. There’s a part where next door neighbours are having sex and the mother yells “They’re fornicating…on a Sunday,” and proceeds to sing and play hymns as loud as possible.

Winterson’s writing is exquisite so pick up a copy and give it a read.

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