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Summary

Winner of the Whitbread Prize for best first fiction.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a coming-out novel from Winterson, the acclaimed author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry.

The narrator, Jeanette, cuts her teeth on the knowledge that she is one of God’s elect, but as this budding evangelical comes of age and comes to terms with her preference for her own sex, the peculiar balance of her God-fearing household crumbles.

©1985 Jeanette Winterson (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Weighing up the church and personal beliefs

Jeanette Winterson's classic semi-autobiographical story about growing up as a lesbian in a devoutly religious family shows the internal battle she had to deal with as a young girl. The exorcism scene is comically tragic as it's horrifying to think about how a girl is not accepted for who she is. An interesting story, but at times seemed a little repetitive.

13 people found this helpful

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  • K
  • 04-10-19

A Literary Victoria Wood

You can't help it when you listen to this book to think of the late Victoria Wood and her gentle satire of the bourgeoise attitudes of the aspiring working classes. Both from Lancashire, parallels will be drawn between Wood and Winterson, not just because of place but also because of a shared motif. I assume because Winterson's themes include religion and sexuality and their elements of controversy she is thought of as literary - Wood merely light entertainment. I personally don't find Winterson's style or content that weighty. Perhaps her use of parables which pepper her narrative was intended to give the novel gravitas, but I actually found those interludes unsubtle and tedious. The narrative itself conveys theme and symbolism enough without the quasi-religious element (although I do get the intended irony and allusion). Perhaps Winterson's craft is to get the reader thinking about other people's struggles while smiling.

Surprisingly, I also enjoyed Winterson's reading. Mostly, author's attempting to read their own work crash and burn - not so here.

7 people found this helpful

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Wonderfully Brilliant and Relevant

I have heard of this audiobook for a number of years now from other wlw groups. There's few lesbian books out there, and most of them seem far more focused on the sex aspect than of the actual challenges that gay women face. Having come from a very similar background as the book's protagonist, I decided to cave-in and give this a lesson. I am delighted that I did. I felt as though I had a special connection to the protagonist, having also come from a very religious family. Some of the tidbits that Jeanette Winterson has added, including learning to move-on from toxicity, have been very beneficial to me, particularly through this holiday season. My own family and church had abandoned me as well, and so I quite understood what the protagonist had gone through. Particularly because I also was very much involved with the church prior to coming out.

This was truly a fantastic listen. Thank you Jeanette Winterson!

6 people found this helpful

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A great story; a great book; a great rendition

Based loosely on her life, as is any story, Jeanette Winterson reads her book with the feeling, nuance and humour that only an author can bring to their own work. Read it many years ago but her reading gives the tale vibrancy.

4 people found this helpful

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Inspiring and empathetic

I fell in love with Jeanette, whose retelling of her experience in fictional form helped me sort through some of my own feelings. The performance was poignant and engaging, the characterisation believable and inspiring.

3 people found this helpful

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Superb!

Very funny, honest and open. I love the juxtaposition of humour and difficulty which runs throughout the narrative .

2 people found this helpful

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I love everything Jeanette writes.

What made the experience of listening to Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit the most enjoyable?

I think it was enhanced by the author reading
I think this always gives a more enjoyable experience, as the nuances and inflections are exactly as the authors intended.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit?

Hard to say as I adore everything Jeanette writes !

Have you listened to any of Jeanette Winterson’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have listened to Why be happy when you can be normal, and loved that, but I think I may be somewhat biased!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The relationship between mother and daughter was particularly emotional for me

Any additional comments?

Next on my list is Sexing the cherry read by the fabulous Juliet Stevenson

8 people found this helpful

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Confused

Just couldn't get into this. I found it just a jumble of words not seeming to go anywhere. Nothing to hang onto as consistency. I listened to the end hoping it would come into something solid but I was pleased to get to the end but still feeling I had missed something important
I always appreciate the time effort and love that goes into writing and ultimately you decide - it was just me I feel

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful book (with reservations)

Loved the autobiographical parts of the story brilliantly and funnily read by the author.The only part I didn't like and therefore "marked it down" was the inclusion of the "fairy stories" as it felt like padding and to be honest didn't understand their purpose.

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Enjoyable and irritating in equal parts

Loved the depiction of the crazy religious background in which the girl grows up, and her gradual realisation of its flaws. I enjoyed the many and varied characters but loathed the fanciful nonsense of the magical realism stuff which grew ever more intrusive and ever more irritating.

1 person found this helpful