Of priests and prophets
in Jeanette Winterson
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This chapter discusses Winterson's first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. The back cover of the 1990 Pandora Press edition described Oranges as the ‘touching and humorous account of an unusual childhood with an extraordinary mother’. The unusual child is a little girl teasingly called Jeanette who, like Jeanette Winterson, lives in a working-class town in Lancashire with her adoptive parents, Jack and Louie. Like Winterson's own mother, the fictional Jeanette's foster mother is a militant member of the Pentecostal Evangelical Church and has taken great pains to educate her daughter in her faith. The novel relates Jeanette's process of maturation from admiring and obedient child, to rebellious adolescent and ideologically self-assured and free adult, as the progressive revelation of her lesbianism clashes with her mother's religious and moral ideas.

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