Jeanette’s mother, upon hearing the word of her daughter requiring traditional education, is upset and angry, resorting to funnelling all of her feelings onto her solely. Jeanette tries to calm her down with comparisons to the Bible and various biblical tales but it is unsuccessful.
Jeanette then recalls a time in which she experienced an episode of temporary deafness. She tried to tell her mother but she didn’t believe it, instead believing that she is experiencing Rapture. her mother then heads off to the hospital to pray for someone else.
Jeanette, realising she is alone, wanders out to embark on a walk. She meets Miss Jewbury and, after explaining her state of deafness, the two head to hospital. Miss Jewbury scolds Jeanette’s mother and decries her notion that her child is ‘full of the spirit’. Jeanette is examined by a doctor.
During her time at the hospital, where she requires an operation to solve her deafness, her mother is absent for the majority of the time. Her father does visit regularly but it is the efforts of Elsie Norris that keep Jeanette in good spirits. She promises to teach her the basics of numerology and the pair enjoy each other’s company with poetry and games. After Jeanette is finished with her time in the hospital, she stays with Elsie as her mother is preoccupied with mission work.
We then return from this memory to Jeanette at school who, after three terms, is struggling considerably. Being isolated for so long has meant that she fails to grasp things which others can with ease and is stunted socially. The other school children mock her but she has non problem retaliating with her vivid knowledge of the Bible and hell in particular.
However, what angers Jeanette most about her time at school is how she is consistently unsuccessful at winning anything. Her teachers are unnerved by her mind, being so clogged up with rather violent religion, which eventually leads to other parents complaining about their children being scared by her. The head of the school attempts to tell her mother of the concerns but she only laughs and praises Jeanette for distancing herself from others. Elsie, however, tries to comfort her.
Jeanette then tells us of an Emperor, Tetrahedron, and how a story from the Bible relates. She tells us of the Israelites fleeing from Egypt and how they were led by a pillar of smoke by day and fire by night. She remarks on how strange it is that they were able to understand the meaning of these cryptic signs but she cannot function at school.
Tetrahedron, an imaginary emperor cooked up by Jeanette, is gifted, in her other story, a revolving circus operated by midgets. This gift plays both comedies and tragedies at the same time and Tetrahedron, who is somehow splendidly flexible, manages to observe all at once. This teaches him that no emotion is final. One will always come after.
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts.
At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.