I will quit a book, especially fiction, that I am not enjoying so quickly. I have no qualms about it and believe that learning to put down, pass on, and return books that we are not enjoying is an essential part of reading as an adult.
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, however, is not one of those books. This review has been a massive struggle to write. There are so many points in this book that I take issue with and found frustrating, but I also kept reading it, so it can’t be that bad, right? I’m not so sure.
This is the story of a girl called Jo, who strikes up a deal with her newly remarried, radio preacher father to go back into the closet when they move to a small town in Georgia in order to appease the family of her new step-mom. Jo, now going by Joanna and dressing more feminine than she did at her previous school, makes friends with a group of teens who all attend her new church. Of course, the arrangement backfires and “drama” ensues.
This book overreaches; it tries to do so many things at once that I felt overwhelmed and therefor unattached to the plot and characters. I think one of the author's aims was to show that believing in God and being gay are not mutually exclusive, which I completely respect and think is an absolutely worthy pursuit. The tone of the book is very light hearted and playful, which does not match the mountain of serious subject matters it addressed. There was the complexity of Jo being out at home but not at school or church, adjusting to a new step-parent and changing family unit, being the new kid and missing her old home, the mistreatment of peers who are differently abled, homophobia in the south/church, coming out and exploring sexuality, theology, friends who aren’t good friends, and the strain this “deal” puts on her relationship with her father. Yeah, it’s a a lot, and I could go on. This book simply could not handle it all. The characters were not developed enough to take on these complex issues.
Not every book will be fore every person, and while this story was clunky and chaotic, I think there is some merit in pieces of it. The plot may have had some holes and miscalculations, but it was still interesting enough that I wanted to find out what happened. If you read this description and it sounds like it’s just your type, them by all means, dive right in. And, I would love to hear your thoughts if you have read this book!