Winterson describes this book as a work of fiction based on her childhood. It is beautifully written and funny and moving. A young girl who’s upbringing by an Evangelist mother makes it difficult for her to accept her sexuality, It is about feeling that you don’t quite fit in, not being sure of yourself and at the same time being sure you are not fully able to be yourself. I love the way chapters wander into fairytales just as children do when they want to escape. There are also fantastic reminders of growing up in Britain in the 60s/70s (which is a nice nostalgia trip for those of us who grew up then or grew up hearing about it).
My copy is full of sweet wrappers (orange Clubs and Penguins) where there were quotations I wanted to remember.
Here are some favourites:
In the library I felt better, words you could trust and look at till you understood them, they couldn’t change half way through a sentence like people, so it was easier to spot a lie.
Whelks are strange and comforting. They have no notion of community life and they breed very quietly. But they have a strong sense of personal dignity. Even lying face down in a tray of vinegar there is something noble about a whelk.
And my favourite:
Happiness is not a potato
(Although I’d say this is debatable as potatoes can definitely make you happy.)
From: That bookshop raid in Nailsworth (don’t worry, I paid for my plunder!)
Read: While on a mini-break with friends in the Cotswolds (cos I’m sociable like that) and finished the evening I got home.
Felt: drawn in, entertained, amused, heartbroken. All the things. And so very grateful that people are much more accepting, or openly able to be themselves in glorious technicolour now.
Would recommend: to everyone.
4 thoughts on “Oranges are not the only fruit – Jeanette Winterson”
So far, I’ve only read two books by Jeanette Winters on – Written on the Body and The Gap of Time. Written on the Body is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I intend to read Oranges as well.
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Oh that sounds fantastic! This is the first book of hers I’ve read and I had been eyeing up ‘Why be happy when you could be normal’ – mostly for that amazing title – but actually I’m quite keen to read more of her fiction so Written on the Body is a great suggestion, Thank you!
I forgot that I’ve read her memoir. She is who she is, a product of that strange upbringing. I prefer her fiction, though. Written on the Body took my breath away. I hope you enjoy it!
The potato quote is one of my favourites too! I’ve just finished reading Oranges and loved it – check out my review on my blog if you want 🍊💫