Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a strange and beautiful book. Quite honestly, I could easily see it being taught in schools (at least schools willing to address religion from an unbiased standpoint), because it explores so many themes in such readily addressed historical and social contexts. I could imagine even potentially reading this for a college course and writing essays on the myriad of symbols and themes woven throughout the book.
However, I was reading this for pleasure, and about halfway through the book, I realized that if I was going to get a full understanding--or even a good partial understanding--of everything this book had to offer, I was going to have to read it again. And I simply didn't love it enough to go straight from the last page back to the first. I think it had to do with being kept at arm's length from the main character, and my inability to decide how I felt about her. Initially, of course, I was rooting for her to break free from her religious oppression, but she seemed so stubbornly determined to have her cake and eat it, too, I ultimately couldn't quite decide what to think.
All in all, the book is very beautifully written, and I think that one day I will return to it and (probably) get a lot more out of it than I did on my first pass. In the meantime, I sincerely hope that a curriculum somewhere picks this up, because I, for one, would love to read the students' resulting essays.
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