Miniature Musings: Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Eleanor and Park and My Mad Fat Teenage Diary

On occasion you can find three books that appear to be different, but mesh together in a way you never imagined.

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My Mad Fat Teenage Diary by Rae Earl

Anyone who has gone through school feeling out of place, ugly, chubby, disliked, anxious, different and anything other than ‘normal’ will enjoy this My Mad Fat Teenage Diary. Ignore the gordy cover, you’ll love Rae, she is spectacular. She encompasses every fear I had as a teenager, every self-doubt; Rae has a personality only a bitch could hate, she is hilariously defensive, but you just need to give her a chance. Set in 1989, Rae’s diary traverses a year in life as she grapples with school, friends, boys and her weight.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

When I was young Sunday’s were the worst day of the week; religion was a foreign concept and it was as if I starred in The Demon Headmaster, solely resistant to the hypnosis. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit resonated with me in a way the other two books here did not, religion was a baffling element of my youth that I find still affects me today. Jeanette is raised up in a strict religious community – verging on cult – bred to be a missionary. She is a believer and struggles as her community ostracised her for her sexuality, finally rejecting them as (quite rightly) she refuses to hide or change who she is. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a semi-autobiographical novel, based on events in Winterson’s own life.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

It all began with a seat on the bus. Eleanor and Park was more enjoyable that I ever expected, to the point where I devoured the rest of Rowell’s novels in quick succession. It’s an unconventional romance between two very different teens, so unconventional a novel pairing that it felt incredibly realistic. Eleanor has moved back in with her beaten mother, siblings and abusive stepfather; Park lives a stable existence with his complicated, but supporting parents. As events in Eleanor’s life escalate, Eleanor and Park become necessary features in each other’s lives. Oh and it’s set in the 80s, that alone makes it worth reading.

10 thoughts on “Miniature Musings: Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Eleanor and Park and My Mad Fat Teenage Diary

    1. I absolutely loved it! Got lost in it.

      I kinda liked that it took her so long to trust him, even if it was a little annoying at times – it felt realistic in consideration of her circumstances.

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    1. It’s an amazing title, I’m almost jealous that I could never think of something so quirky.

      I’ve not read anything else, no, I’ve a feeling that nothing will quite top it for me either, as I loved this book so much. Any recommendation on one of her others that would be good to start next?

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    1. Thanks 🙂

      I think it helped I didn’t begin Eleanor & Park thinking I would love it, so it had opportunity to exceed my expectations. I probably should have put that in my review.

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  1. Still to get to E&P… The Winterson sounds something I’d enjoy, even if it is about extremes (I’m assuming it may be similar to Amity & Sorrow which sounded very good).

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  2. Out of these 3 books, I’ve only heard of Eleanor and Park but since I wasn’t impressed with Fangirl, I don’t think I will be diving soon into any of her other books.

    My Mad Fat Teenage Diary by Rae Earl- In a way, I can relate with this one because I’ve been fat all my life. I also feel anxious all the time but well, unlike Rae, I actually found a lot of friends who didn’t care about my physical looks. Hehehe. Is this in Epistolary format? Because if it is, I will be hesitant to read it.

    Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson- I am from the Philippines and you might have an idea how Filipinos are very devoted to their religion. I think I am the only deviant. I believe in the Divine Providence but I just don’t want to go to Church.

    Eleanor and Park- As I’ve said, Fangirl didn’t work out for me so I think it will take a long time for me to read this. But the premise is really good though. I think it’s not just about romance but also the complexity of familial relationships.

    Hey thanks for dropping by my blog, Alice!

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    1. I think Rowell is like Marmite, you either love her books or dislike them – which is fair enough.

      My Made Fat Teenage Diary is Epistolary, yes, diary entries. It works though, it’s quick reading.

      If you come from a strongly religious country you may find Oranges are not the only fruit really interesting, especially as it delves into how some religions denominations can both be very comforting and supporting, but on the other hand can turn on a member of their flock very easily when they don’t confirm.

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