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The shocking, heart-breaking - and often very funny - true story behind Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

In 1985 Jeanette Winterson’s first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, was published. It tells the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents. The girl is supposed to grow up and be a missionary. Instead she falls in love with a woman. Disaster. Written when Jeanette was only twenty-five, her novel went on to win the Whitbread First Novel award, become an international bestseller and inspire an award-winning BBC television adaptation. Oranges was semi-autobiographical. Mrs Winterson, a thwarted giantess, loomed over that novel and its author’s life. When Jeanette finally left her home, at sixteen, because she was in love with a woman, Mrs Winterson asked her: why be happy when you could be normal? This book is the story of a life’s work to find happiness. It is a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a tyrant in place of a mother, who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the duster drawer, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an northern industrial town now changed beyond recognition, part of a community now vanished; about the Universe as a Cosmic Dustbin. It is the story of how the painful past Jeanette Winterson thought she had written over and repainted returned to haunt her later life, and sent her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her real mother. It is also a book about other people's stories, showing how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life-raft which supports us when we are sinking. Funny, acute, fierce and celebratory, this is a tough-minded search for belonging, for love, an identity, a home, and a mother.

Reviews

Unforgettable… It’s the best book I have ever read about the cost of growing up.

Daisy Goodwin, Sunday Times

A searingly felt and expressed autobiography…Funny and profoundly hopeful – a tale of survival

Kate Hamer, Metro

This book is good, sensible, beautiful company… Try this

A.L. Kennedy, Week

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099556091

    May 1, 2012

    Vintage

    240 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781446402115

    October 1, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    240 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Jeanette Winterson

Love
Christmas Days
The Gap of Time
Written On The Body
Art & Lies
The Daylight Gate
Stop What You're Doing And Read This!
The Passion
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
The Stone Gods
Weight: The Myth of Atlas & Heracles: Text Myth Series
The Powerbook
The World And Other Places
Sexing The Cherry
Art Objects

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The People Smuggler: The True Story of Ali Al Jenabi
The Sidekicks
Mao's Last Dancer
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My Family and Other Animals: Popular Penguins
Maori Boy
Smile Please
Old Dogs New Tricks