Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
[4.5] starsI enjoy this novel very much, especially the first 2/3. Witty, perceptive, funny and, most important of all, tender. Surely Winterson is very good at laying bare the ironies of the church, especially when the church members are serious
I enjoy this novel very much, especially the first 2/3. Witty, perceptive, funny and, most important of all, tender. Surely Winterson is very good at laying bare the ironies of the church, especially when the church members are serious about what we consider to be weird. My favorite part is when Elsie and "Jeanette" work out their Bible-themed homework. Her attempts to sew "THE SUMMER IS ENDED AND WE ARE NOT YET SAVED" is simply hilarious. Nevertheless, Winterson does more than just ridicule, and "Jeanette's" emotional tie to the church is indeed deeper. Her friendship with Elsie marks one of the most moving passages to me. While Christianity and church usually falls as stereotypes of The Source of Oppression in queer lit, I think her representation of the church is emotionally sophisticated and, perhaps, ambivalent. (Ruth: "I miss God. I miss the company of someone utterly loyal. I still don't think of God as my betrayer. The servants of God, yes, but servants by their nature betray.")
One thing that fascinates me a lot is the parallel between "Jeanette" the follower of her fundamentalist church who receives discrimination in school and "Jeanette" the lesbian who gets kicked off by her church. This arrangement is smart, I have to say. While radical Christians are the ones who are most vocal against the LBGT communities, perhaps they share similar life experiences with the LBGT communities in being unfriended, isolated and considered anomalous by the society. It's just, poor Jeanette, she has to undergo the painful process twice.
The ending weakens a bit to me. It seems that something is missing between her escape from home and her return home years later on Xmas. The chivalric allegory does tell something, but is still not very satisfying. That's why I deduct 0.5 star.