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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Book cover - stylised woman eating an orangeBy Jeanette Winterson
Review by Sahar (English Language and Literature)

This book became my favourite book as soon as I read it. It is a beautiful coming of age story of a girl who feels like an outsider wherever she goes. The story starts at school, where her religious upbringing separates her from other people. Then, as she grows older, she becomes an outsider in her own home as a result of her sexuality. I love the way in which Winterson uses stories and fantasy to show her main character’s struggle not just to be accepted by her mother but also to accept and love herself. I was completely gripped from the moment I started reading it and there is hardly ever a book-led conversation that I am involved in where I do not talk about this book. It is exactly the right coming of age story that is both realistic and fantastical at the same time. It teaches the importance of self-love whilst addressing the dilemma of needing a caring mother that is devoted to you and loves you no matter what. This book is like a more recent version of Jane Eyre where Jane does not choose St John or Mr Rochester, but she chooses herself which is such an important lesson. Since this book is semi-autobiographical, it is impossible not to mention the author and how inspiring she is. I find it incredible that after facing so much adversity at home and having to run away at 16, Winterson still fought her way to a place at Oxford where she published her first novel at 23 and is now featured in the Oxford English Department’s induction lecture. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a bit of nostalgia and catharsis.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
ISBN-10: 9780099598183
ISBN-13: 978-0099598183

Try checking the availability of this book at your school or local library or explore second hand bookshops and websites. You may also wish to purchase from either Amazon or Blackwell’s.

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