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Ironic Contradictions

I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.
Oranges are Not the Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson Finally I've finished reading all the set literature texts for trimester one. And week one's only just finished.

This was one of the more challenging of the texts as it focused on issues I feel strongly about. However having completed this novel I can find many things of merit despite it involving a character whose world-view is contrary to my own.

This is the tale of a girl brought up in a strict religious society. Well it's not her society so much as her mother forcing her along to church and her pastor preaching hellfire and damnation. In this culture she discovers that she believes herself to be lesbian and struggles with how the others treat her sinful actions.

I'm not going to discuss my opinion on homosexuality. I do not want to open a can of worms and be attacked by a group of insensible people. The point I will say is that I do not, or at least I try my human best to not hate anyone. And moreover I try not to judge. I admit we all make judgements without realising it but I will always try my hardest to understand rather than condemn.

Which is why in the end I enjoyed this book. It was humorous, it was lively and it allowed me insight into the perspective of a woman with differing opinions to myself.

I was also able to observe the strict nature of Religion. Now I believe in what the Bible says and try hard not to be religious. Religion to me is self-righteousness. Its the point where it involves you yourself working hard, being a better person to gain eternal life. I take Christianity as a belief system and acknowledge that no matter what I do won't be good enough. Which is where the Bible comes into it with the Crucifixion etc. But I'm only trying to point out how I perceive the religious characters in the book: Jeanette's mother and the Reverend for instance.

They in my eyes were highly religious. They never stopped to care for Jeanette, to explain to her why they viewed her actions as sin. Her mother never really told Jeanette that she loved her and her father was never in the picture. In the end when Jeanette's sexual feelings are exposed before them rather than continue to love her, to accept her still, they accused her of demon possession and of sinning before the entire church. They humiliated rather than cared for her. So I saw how religion and self-righteousness work to attack those who are different. And that for me made me think about how they were all sinners still they just chose to use her as an open example to make themselves feel righteous in a way. It made me question whether I have ever done anything like that.

While I may not think Jeanette's perspective is correct I neither accept the way the church around her acted. It was a warning to me against self-righteousness and condemnation. Because when you really look at it Jesus preached on grace, love and forgiveness of sins more than he did condemnation. In fact he never preached condemnation on any of the prostitutes or tax collectors he hung around.

I guess you could say that in the end I gained perspective from this text. And an encouragement to continue to not judge those who are different whether I accept their actions or not. because I may not truly understand the reasons for those actions.

So do I recommend reading this book. Perhaps yes. If you want something to challenge you a little and to provide a look at the hypocrisy that self-righteous religion brings. It was on the whole well written also. So I would give this three and a half stars and say that if you want a book to make you think read this.