Belinda's Reviews > Fruit of the Lemon

Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy
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's review
Apr 14, 2012

liked it
Read in April, 2012

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 confusion, her lack of belonging, by the time you get to the chapter where racist idiots ransack and attack a bookshop and the owner.
So then - only then - do the parents finally send her to Jamaica.
Which is good to begin with, I enjoyed the stories, the scenes of everyday life there, but then Faith kind of gets lost under all that telling.
Spolier alert here:
Finally there is the story (told by Victor, her cousin in Jamaica) about how Faith's parents rung and begged Aunty Coral have her to stay because Faith is lost. She hangs out with white people, she's living with men and a girl with loose morals, she has lost jobs, got above her station, never cared about her roots.
I got that Faith wanted to know about her family tree and would ask but her parents constantly evaded questions about anything. She doesn't seem close to her father and even says she had never been alone with him until he visits her flat and tut tuts over it.
She has a degree (how is this "above her station"?) and goes flatting, which is normal considering the parents brought her up as English and not Jamaican.
So why do they basically betray her like that?
Or perhaps it's in keeping with the family history, sisters arguing, mother's beating their own daughters but loving the whitest (sometimes adopted) kid in the family etc. To me it reads as if the kids that were valued were the ones that were most like Faith - very English - or white. Which doesn't make any sense to me as Faith is meant to be finding pride in being a Jamaican.
The end, the return to the UK, was just a splutter. Why bother with it?

So worth a read? Yes, it's an interesting perspective, but don't expect to understand Faith at the end of it.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Debbie Good thorough review although you might want to put the spoiler alert closer to the begining. It was good to read a review from someone who also read this book and enjoyed it. I thought some of the same points. ;o)

Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship Turns out this was her third book, although it wasn't till her fourth that she wrote a real breakout novel.

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