Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, by Jeanette Winterson
Homeschooled by a zealous right-wing mother and passive father, Jeanette (based loosely on the author) makes the most sense she can out of the contradictions, omissions, and illogic that govern her home. We accompany her through her adolescence as she meets new people, and comes to terms with her independence, her sexuality, and a broader experience of life.
Misunderstood by her church for nontraditional impulses, and by non-church acquaintances who can’t fathom her perspective, Jeanette leads a lonely and internal life. She’s whip-smart, but with limited access to the world, her internal sense of reality can be a little bizarre. This makes for a unique narrative style. When Jeanette doesn’t understand a situation, she translates it into a Bible story-cum-fairy tale complete with wayfarers, talking fruit, and archaic syntax.
Jeanette never seems to find her niche. Among her family, she can’t grow into her true self, but, when she goes out into a world that supposedly accepts her, her new people can’t understand why she would still have conflicted feelings about the life she left behind. It’s hard to learn that people who love and want the best for you may not be able to give you that. I am sad for the Jeanettes of the world, and for this delicate, bittersweet tale.
The 213 in 2013 series chronicles every book I read in 2013. Each review contains exactly 213 words, because 2013 words is too long and 2013 characters is too dang short.