Book Review: Sexing the Cherry

Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson is weird. Weird can be good–and in this case, I think I liked the book overall. It’s sort of time-travel historical fiction? But if it took place in a dream, where people come and go, and places change, and new characters pop up, and it’s totally illogical but somehow makes sense while you’re dreaming it.

The book switches back and forth between the perspectives of a giant-woman and her foundling son, Jordan. At the beginning, this confused me a bit, because there is no cue that the narrator has changed. But I got the hang of that pretty quickly.

The historical fiction part is that it is loosely set in London during the English Civil Wars, but the characters travel both in time and place to other settings, including dropping into fairy-tale-like stories. My favorite parts were at the beginning; there are some genuinely funny and witty feminist bits.

I didn’t much like the middle–there is a long stretch of amateur philosophizing, and it wasn’t clear if this was supposed to be part of the character development or just a place for the author to make some points. In any event, it went on too long for me, and it was too much telling rather than showing (and the telling wasn’t that deep, TBH). The last third or so of the book gets back on track, but the story becomes far more grotesque than funny.

I will say that it made me think, and it’s an unusual and creative book. It’s also not very long, so if any of this sounds interesting, I think it’s worth the time.

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