Author Jeanette Winterson
This is the spoiler free review for Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, a coming of age story about a young lesbian trapped in an ultra religious household. If you would like to read the spoiler full review please visit here.
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is the story of a young Jeanette, named after the author, who is raised by an extremely religious mother and their cult of Christianity church. She discovers at a young age that she may be a lesbian but that is strictly forbidden by the church.
She’s so young and sheltered when this happens that she doesn’t even have the word lesbian in her vocabulary. All she knows is that she’s doing something that feels right to her but also makes her feel guilty and ashamed.
This story follows her as she navigates discovering her sexuality and how she deals with being told it’s a sin.
It’s Winterson’s first novel and shows all the promise that is to come from her later works. Written on the Body and Sexing the Cherry are both brilliant works of art from her miraculous molding of language and we can see the seeds of that in Oranges but they have not fully developed.
She’s still finding her style and finding her message.
For me, Oranges is incredibly relatable. I am a bisexual woman who was raised by a very religious mother. When I came out I was told I was going to hell and that my “choice” was a sin punishable by eternal damnation.
I can definitely find common ground in this story of young Jeanette dealing with this same conflict of going from believing in god one second, thinking that he loves you like all his children, and then being told that he doesn’t. That you’re not worthy, that you’re flawed, that he created you incorrectly.
I realize that I’m in the minority here, most people are not from this exact background and will find this story less familiar. I can assure you though that it is accurately portrayed.
If you are looking to see an account of this kind of life that is accurate without exaggeration, Oranges is a great place to start. I will always encourage literature that broadens the public perception of LGBTQ+ people.
Additionally, if you fall within any part of the LGBTQ+ community you are worthy, you are enough, you are not flawed, and there are communities out there that will be much healthier for you than any that tell you otherwise.
You did not choose to be LGBTQ+ but you can choose who your family is.
4/5 oranges 🍊🍊🍊🍊
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Buy it here: Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit