Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? MP3 CD – 12 Mar 2013
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|MP3 CD, 12 Mar 2013||
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"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)
"Jeanette Winterson’s writing is poetic, emotive and beautiful" (So Many Books So Little Time (blog))
"Incredibly moving and full of Winterson’s characteristic wit." (Elle) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
The shocking, heart-breaking - and often very funny - true story behind Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In 1985 Winterson published her first novel: `Oranges are not the only Fruit' and this novel was acknowledged to be partly autobiographical. It tells the story of a girl who was adopted in her infancy by Pentecostal parents. When I read `Oranges' years ago and found out that it was partly based on fact, I thought the worst bits were most probably the fiction parts- not so. Winterson's book tells us that her childhood wasn't quite as that depicted in `Oranges' - it was worse, and that she found it necessary to invent kind people like Testifying Elsie. She writes: "There was no Elsie. There was no one like Elsie. Things were much lonelier than that".
This new book is full of wonderful stories, some funny, some very sad, some that must have been painful to write about. For the reader it may sound amusing to hear of Mrs Winterson striding past Woolworth's shouting "A Den of Vice"; past Marks and Spencer announcing that "The Jews killed Christ"; or marching past the funeral parlour and the pie shop saying "They share an oven" - but Winterson must have had very mixed feelings at the time. She goes on to tell us how Mrs Winterson was not a welcoming woman: "If anyone knocked at the door she ran down the lobby and shoved a poker through the letter box".Read more ›
What I'm saying is, don't read this as autobiography. Read it as another layer of stories, inspired by events, but aware of the stories behind it, and those still to come.
It's funny and raw. Outstanding moments for me included the dog biscuit factory, the time she took her pal Vicky home to Accrington for Christmas - Vicky's first encounter with End Time!!! - and the description of how Winterson tried to kill herself.
I loved it. I think JW would be the most amazing dinner guest!
This is the 4th of her books that I have read and is my favourite to date. She has a way of using words that makes prose sing like poetry. Each sentence is exquisitely pared down and no word is left to chance; each is chosen specifically and carefully for its effect.
She was appallingly uncared for and unloved as a child growing up in the house of the awesome Mrs Winterson (her father is all but absent throughout her formative years, although he shares the house with them). Her mistreatment is dealt with in a cool and objective detachment which belies her rage and fear of rejection.
This is a disturbing and beautiful memoir which brims with hope and love. Read it.
The book is a memoir with two halves. The first is an account of JW's childhood (her adoptive mother, Constance Winterson, was savagely religious, and unhappy) from which JW escaped through literature, initially as an avid reader, then through university studies, and latterly through writing. The second is an account of JW's own adulthood unhappiness and of how through work, love, and a search for her birth mother she has attempted to manage that unhappiness. The halves are hinged by a few pages on JW's time at the University of Oxford.
The first half, the account of the misery of fifty years ago, is worn smooth by much handling, polished into anecdote and well-crafted. JW has successfully distanced herself from that misery by assembling a narrative. Emotion dominates the second half, which is gabble; sometimes ungrammatical, palpably raw, and not yet mastered. JW deploys therapists' jargon and recounts fables in an attempt to create a narrative, an accounting, for her adult unhappiness. She does not succeed. The literature that let her escape from her childhood now allows her to escape from confronting that unhappiness. The myths and metaphors stave off her misery rather than explain it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think with Jeanette Winterson who writes so openly and honestly the more you like her as a person the more you enjoy reading her writing. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Greta
Read this at book club and really enjoyed it. What a phenomenal struggle of success over adversityPublished 23 days ago by Peaches
In 1985 Jeanette Winterson brought us solid gold with 'Oranges are not the Only Fruit', a cocktail of fiction and real life experiences. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lisa Jane Ives
Enjoyed this very much. Shocking and sad at times but also extremely funny and written with some sympathy for those who made her life so difficult. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Diana P
I've only just discovered this author. Very glad I did. Fantastic, sad, clever, quirky and full of insight. Read it.Published 2 months ago by Louise walker
I really liked it - well written, funny, thought provoking. I picked it up in a charity shop & because it was a world book night edition I didn't actually know what it was - the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Peggy G