Innovative in style, its humour by turns punchy and tender, Oranges are not the only fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession. It’s a love story too.
This is a semi-autobiographical novel, loosely based on Winterson’s childhood/teenage years.
Jeanette’s mother has a “mysterious attitude towards the begetting of children; it wasn’t that she couldn’t do it, more that she didn’t want to do it. She was very bitter about the Virgin Mary getting in first…”
This is a novel about religion and sexual awakening. The story deals with Jeanette’s feelings of confusion over her love for God and the conflict between that, and her developing feelings towards females. Her mother, a staunch evangelist, doesn’t like sex, in any of its forms and so when she discovers her daughter’s attraction to the same sex, she and the church decide action must be taken to stamp it out.
This book, which won the Whitbread Award for a First Novel in 1985, is both funny and poignant and was an enjoyable read.