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Fruit Of The Lemon
 
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Andrea Levy
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Fruit Of The Lemon

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  997 ratings  ·  124 reviews
From Andrea Levy, author of Small Island and winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year and the Best of the Best Orange Prize, comes a story of one woman and two islands.
Faith Jackson knows little about her parents' lives before they moved to England. Happy to be starting her first job in the costume department at BBC television, and to be sharing a house with friends, Fait
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Published (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,630)
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Sonia Gomes
Fruit of the Lemon is a sketchy effort to portray the lives of Jamaicans in the UK, Jamaicans seem to have no effect on the English especially the youth, which we know is not so true. Andrea Levy just skims around the chapters disjointed with hardly any continuity.
The redeeming feature however,in my opinion, is when Faith (the protagonist)realizes with a deep shock how little the immigrants particularly the Blacks mean to the Whites, her struggle to move to a different department, her sorrow to
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Bee
I see this was Levy's first book, which certainly explains the disappointment I have with it, as well as the pleasure I took in the descriptions and fluid writing style.
It took awhile to get into the story. I liked it best when Faith starts narrating how she relates to her brother, Carl, the moments when she notices that even her best friend's family see her as different, the visit to Simon's parents home, the realisation that she is a token black dresser at her workplace.
You can see her confusi
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Shivanee (Novel Niche)
Excerpted from the full review:

"While reading ‘Fruit of the Lemon’, it became quickly apparent to me that I was in the hands of a startlingly evocative writer. Levy rarely ‘lays it on thick’ – there is none of that overindulgence, poorly executed, in exposition, description or plot progression. The ingrained racism Faith endures uneasily in England, her incremental malaise and mistrust of her own complexion, are subtly enforced at every turn, ‘til we feel like buckling beneath the pressure, ours
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Mark
Fruit of the Lemon is Levy's third book and last before her break-out with the novel, Small Island. In an interview with the Guardian, she categorized her first three novels as a her "baton race" and I suppose this is evident throughout the novel. Stated herself, " Anyone reading my books could say, 'Well, she got a dictionary there,' and 'She got a thesaurus at this point.'" Despite all this, I found the book wholly enjoyable. In particular, Faith's parent's Jamaican patois is entertaining and ...more
May-Ling
i also read small island, the author's other book. this book was a quick read. there were some things that bothered me - it starts out as a story and once the character gets to Jamaica, the book becomes stories told about family members. the concept is good, it's about a young Jamaican woman in england who knows nothing about her roots. she returns to Jamaica to learn the history of her family. i don't identify with her a lot - i think if i was more sympathetic to her actions, it would have been ...more
Jenny
This is a story about discovering one’s roots. The hero is a London girl whose parents emigrated from Jamaica. All her life she’s been conscious of her differences, experiencing a vague tension that only occasionally becomes blatant racism. When she is in danger of becoming overwhelmed by it, her parents send her back to Jamaica. There she finds a place where she fits, and a whole lot more branches to her family tree. It’s light, funny, clearly observed, never shallow, and well worth reading.
Chrissi
Fruit of The Lemon is a well written piece of adult fiction. The protagonist in this story is Faith. She lives in England, but she is born of Carribbean parents. Faith’s parents came to England from Jamaica. Faith’s life changes when her parents decide to return to Jamaica to retire. Faith’s life had began to fall to pieces, so it was decided that Faith would go to Jamaica too to stay with her aunt Coral.

Fruit of The Lemon is told by different narratives including Faith’s life in England and al
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Liz Chapman
I liked this story and the more I read it the more intrigued I became with the characters. It tells of Faith Jacksons childhood in London , happy with her friends at school and successful enough to go to University. Faith feels that her family home is too controlling and moves out into a shared house and gets a job in the costume department of the BBC. It is then that she starts to become aware of racism at its worst ,and questions how her friends really see her. Faith's parents announce that th ...more
Emily
Andrea Levy uses first person narrative to tell the story of Faith, a daughter of Jamaican immigrants living in 1980s Britain, and her discovery of her family roots.

I thought Faith was a really likable character and her voice was entertaining and engaging. Levy also successfully speaks as Faith's family members bringing to life a fantastic array of characters and voices with wonderful warmth making for a varied read.

Fruit of the Lemon entertained me and made me want to look more closely at my o
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Donna
I love books like this, written by first-generation children of immigrants, because they tie in so closely with my own experiences. I identified so strongly with Faith Jackson, the main character. She is a young black woman in England trying to find her own identity when confronted on different sides by her Jamaican family, her bohemian friends, and her respectably white boyfriend. She goes to work at the BBC in the costuming department, and there faces daily racial micro-aggressions. With all t ...more
Gitte
I didn’t want to be black anymore.
I just wanted to live.






The Beginning: ‘Your mum and dad came on a banana boat,’ that was what the bully boys at my primary school used to say.

The story starts quite well. It’s about Faith Jackson, a young Jamaican woman born and raised in London. In a quest to discover her roots and find herself, she decides to visit Jamaica for the first time ever. She’s welcomed by an overwhelming amount of family members, all eager to tell her stories of her ancestors.

I enjoy
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Mocha Girl
Faith Jackson is the daughter of hardworking, conservative Jamaican immigrants and grows up in a moderate middle-class environment. She, like many others, assimilates into a society that does not fully embrace those that are "different." All her life, she has grappled with some form of scrutiny and eventually develops a blind eye and deaf ear to racial slurs and stereotypes that she experiences routinely, even from her "best friends." For example, as a child, she is openly teased by white school ...more
Yileen
My first impression of this book was annoyance at the amount of sentences trailing off with "you know"s (kinda like counting the "umm"s and "aah"s in a lecture), although it was possible that Levy was attempting to give a 'Jamaican' feel to the book. Thankfully she had decided that the first 9 pages of the book would be enough 'feel' and my distraction ended there.

The first half of the book tells about Faith's life as a coloured British citizen. She feels embarrassed of her Jamaican descent and
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Debbie
I really really liked this book! It's fluid, interesting and easy to read. You get sucked into the story of Faith Jackson a Black British young woman with parents who emigrated from Jamaica. This is the story of Faith really discovering who she is and where she comes from. A completely relateable story as we all have that life defining experience when we stop and question, who am I really? Where did my family/ancestors come from? It's about Faith seeming to live in a sort of confusion or shadow ...more
Mrsgaskell
Faith Jackson was born and raised in England but her parents arrived on a banana boat from Jamaica and school bullies are only too happy to taunt her with this fact. Faith thinks of herself as English since she knows little of her Jamaican roots, her parents having always been reluctant to speak of their lives in Jamaica. It’s the late seventies when Faith finds a good job in television and moves out of the family home. Her parents probably wouldn’t approve of the young woman and two young men, ...more
janet
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric
Levy's Small Island is probably a better novel overall, but Fruit of the Lemon does eventually become very powerful and affecting. It's a novel divided neatly into halves, with the second half being clearly superior to the first. In the first half (which could use a little more edginess and drama), we're introduced to a young woman, Faith Jackson, who is the daughter of Jamaican immigrants and is seemingly cut off from her heritage (and only faintly aware of the muted racism present around her i ...more
Catherine Siemann
Not as strong overall as Levy's Small Island, but still a good read. Faith Jackson, daughter of Jamaican immigrants, considers England her only home, and is happily starting a new job at the BBC. But a series of incidents with white friends and coworkers, as well as in more public situations, hammers home to her the endemic nature of racism in contemporary England. Her parents, meanwhile, have announced their intention of moving back to Jamaica now that their children are grown.

Faith takes a jou
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Bookmarks Magazine

Named after the song "Lemon Tree," which grumbles that such a beautiful tree should produce so inedible a fruit, Fruit of the Lemon was first published in England in 1999, five years before the award-winning Small Island. Given the similar themes and content, comparisons were inevitable. Though critics praised Andrea Levy's lovely prose and affable characters, some felt that the book had a few rough edges: the believability of Faith's breakdown, for example, and, in the second part of the novel

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Bonnie
The first half of this book takes place in England, the second half in Jamaica. Levy has a gift for the nuances of relationships between races, for capturing dialogue in both British English and Jamaican Patois, and for wonderful tongue in cheek humor:

The letter came through the television centre’s internal mail. At the time I was sitting at my desk typing a full and complete description of World War One army uniforms. ‘We are pleased to inform you that your application for the post of dresser
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Veronica
I'm not sure if Levy wrote this before or after her very successful Small Island, but I felt it wasn't as good. The first few chapters seemed a bit heavy handed, but the book was entirely redeemed by two magnificent central chapters: one in which the heroine Faith, the British-born daughter of Jamaican parents, witnesses a racist attack, and the following one in which she arrives in Jamaica for the first time. These are wonderfully done, vivid and striking, and really make you feel for Faith as ...more
Emily
Interesting read about the search for one's cultural identity in today's melting pot world. Follows Faith, a young woman living in London whose parents emigrated from Jamaica as a young married couple. Set partially in England and partially in Jamaica, we watch Faith as she struggles with the deeply ingrained racism of England, and then as she travels to Jamaica to explore her roots. While good enough, this book is not nearly as well written as Levy's "Long Song" (I haven't read "Small Island" y ...more
Micah
Apr 14, 2007 Micah rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks who enjoy immigrant or post-colonialist lit
I wasn't really sure what to expect from Fruit of the Lemon as Andrea Levy -- though previously published -- was new to me. I'm not sure whether FOTL is based on the author's experiences, but the protagonist seems to have a lot in common with the author, at least demographically: both are British women from a Jamaican families. I would probably classify this book in the vague sub-genres of immigrant or post-colonial lit (think The Namesake or Mona in the Promised Land ). It was interested a ...more
Paul Cheney
Not the normal book that I would read, but took a punt as it was a winner of the orange prize and Whitbread prize.

It concerns a girl born in the UK to Jamaican immigrants, and how she grows up with her brother. She is generally getting along fine, has a good job, is living with other people in a house, before coming up against the horrors of racial violence. Shee suffers a breakdown, and her parent decide to send her to Jamaica to spend time with the family that never left there.

Whilst there, he
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Vonetta
Having read Small Island first, I found Fruit of the Lemon a tad dry. Levy blew me away with her ability to transport senses from the page to your brain in her first book, but that didn't happen with this one. It is an interesting story, following the heroine's family history for several generations, but it's very much a "told" story rather than a "shown" one, which is fitting, seeing as the character is being told the stories by her older relatives, but this style of storytelling seems a bit mo ...more
Jules
I had to read this one for my book group. It was an odd story which read more like an autobiography than a novel. The start didn't really grab me, the writing was a bit childlike, lacking in imagery and rather the way someone would write their diary.

But when Faith got to Jamaica I found all the other stories of her family fascinating to read. It was a technique which didn't really work as it more like a collection of short stories and there were far, far too many people. However they were inter
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Michele Ponte
Ed eccomi qua, di ritorno dalla vacanze, con un sacco di libri in testa, sia da leggere che da scrivere; ma prima veniamo alla lettura terminata questa notte in Grecia, Fruit of the lemon di Andrea Levy.

Questo romanzo l'ho trovato sugli scaffali del Filorian Hotel Apartments di Acharavi insieme ad altri libri lasciati lì a impolverare prima che un qualche cliente di passaggio come me li reclamasse. Il fatto è che l'avevo scoperto solo 5-6 giorni fa e, dato che poi lo dovevo restituire, mi sono d
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liz
The English daughter of Jamaican immigrants in the 60s discovers racism, loses herself, and is sent to Jamaica by her family to (re)discover where she comes from. The family history stories are the most engaging chapters, and for the first third of the book, the protagonist is disappointingly aimless. Still, it's decently well-written.

'...I'm Ruth.'
'I'm Faith. Are you going out with my brother?'
'I'm introducing you -- if you don't mind,' Carl was saying. 'Faith, this is Ruth...'
We paid no attent
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Kate
Quite good, based on autobiographical experience, and entertaining to read, this book follows the protagonist from London to Jamaica and back as she discovers her roots.
Rachel Ridgway
I kept expecting a plot, but it turns out its just another story of a young woman finding her roots. Don't expect any character development or resolution of various relationship conflicts that arise mid-book. The only relationship that develops is the one the narrator has with herself, and not very convincingly at that.. The writing is pretty disjointed, even within chapters, but it was kind of fun to read the vignettes of her family history- something I would like to do for my own genealogy pro ...more
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In 1948 Andrea Levy's father sailed from Jamaica to England on the Empire Windrush ship and her mother joined him soon after. Andrea was born in London in 1956, growing up black in what was still a very white England. This experience has given her an complex perspective on the country of her birth.

Andrea Levy did not begin writing until she was in her mid-thirties. At that time there was little wr
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More about Andrea Levy...
Small Island The Long Song Every Light in the House Burning Never Far From Nowhere Six Stories and An Essay

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