ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRUIT by Jeanette Winterson

orangesThis is an autobiographical novel written in 1985.   It is about a young woman who is raised by an assertive  Christian fundamentalist mother and a quiet unassuming father, in England, where she is absorbed into the evangelical community, eventually even doing her own preaching.

It is terribly funny in places, and terribly sad in others,  a well-written examination of the life, secret and public, of a girl who slowly learns and reveals to us that she is a lesbian.   It was made into a BBC television drama in 1989.

The writing is witty, drizzled with irony and sarcasm,  and the first three quarters of the book are so much fun, but in that last part she gets kind of sermonizing, which I always find unpleasant.  I dislike officious personal philosophy dressed up as character dialog.  I developed that aversion back when I read Any Rand, and it has never left me.  Well, my aversion to Ayn Rand in general has never left me, but that is for another post.

Oh. Yeah.  And it has Sparknotes.   I also have an aversion to the idea that we readers can’t read anything deeper than Harlequin romances and understand them without somebody else explaining to us what it all means.

Let’s see, how about a couple of clever quotes?  OK, you talked me into it:

[About a famous missionary whom the church supported] — To celebrate his ten thousandth convert, the pastor had been funded to take a long holiday and tour his collection of weapons, amulets, idos and primitive methods of contraception.  The exhibition was called ‘Saved by Grace Alone.’

And

I was just in time to see the retreating shapes of Mrs. Spencer and Mrs. Sparrow, ripe plums of indignation falling from them.

And finally,

I had won yet another Bible quiz competition, and to my great relief had been picked as narrator for the Sunday School Pageant.  I had been Mary for the last three years, and there was nothing else I could bring to the part.

And since there is nothing else I can bring to the part of reviewer here, I bid you adieu.   Have fun reading this lovely book.

 

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