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Rubyfruit Jungle (1973)

by Rita Mae Brown

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,727433,656 (3.64)105
Born a bastard, Molly Bolt is adopted by a dirt-poor Southern couple who want something better for their daughter. Molly plays doctor with the boys, beats up Leroy the tub and loses her virginity to her girlfriend in sixth grade. As she grows to realize she's different, Molly decides not to apologize for that. In no time she mesmerizes the head cheerleader of Ft. Lauderdale High and captivates a gorgeous bourbon-guzzling heiress. But the world is not tolerant. Booted out of college for moral turpitude, an unrepentant, penniless Molly takes New York by storm, sending not a few female hearts aflutter with her startling beauty, crackling wit and fierce determination to become the greatest filmmaker that ever lived.-Back cover.… (more)
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» See also 105 mentions

English (42)  Swedish (1)  All languages (43)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
growing up lesbian in the 60s
  ritaer | Mar 9, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this book. It was visceral and true to character in a way I rarely experience. Quintessential sapphic reading. ( )
  emeraldreverie | Nov 15, 2018 |
I read this one as a teenager and it was incredibly important in my realisation of my own queer identity. ( )
  Max_Tardiff | Oct 29, 2018 |
Never shies away from tough topics, poverty, systemic homophobia and sexism but is lifted from a potentially depressing story by the wit and humour of the sometimes frustrating but nearly always hilarious protagonist Molly.

“Oh great, you too. So now I wear this label ‘Queer’ emblazoned across my chest. Or I could always carve a scarlet ‘L’ on my forehead. Why does everyone have to put you in a box and nail the lid on it? I don’t know what I am – polymorphous and perverse. Shit. I don’t even know if I’m white. I’m me. That’s all I am and all I want to be. Do I have to be something?”

Thoughts
There is probably much to criticise in this novel – it’s certainly not high literature in terms of style or language, there’s more than a couple of scatological references that I could have done without and there is not a huge amount of character growth from anyone.

Viewed with a modern eye it has in many ways not aged well, some of the language is dated and there are, I understand many criticisms that Brown is negative about motherhood as well Butch culture at the time.

However, and it is a huge however, Molly is a an absolute pleasure to read. From an early age Molly recognises that she is different from her family in ways that are outside of her emerging sexuality. She is smart, ambitious, incredibly driven and self-aware which leads to more than a couple of laugh out loud scenes in the first half of the book. The children’s nativity scene in particular is one I would love to see on film. Life continues to throw all sorts of difficult situations on her but her self-belief and self - reliance continues to shine through in a way that I found cheerful and positive even despite the slightly ambiguous ending. ( )
1 vote itchyfeetreader | Apr 24, 2018 |
I concluded [Rubyfruit Jungle] without much pleasure. Thought it was kinda meh. It was disappointing: not particularly well written, with most second tier characters lacking depth, and some sexual conquests not easily believed.

The story is that of the author, Rita Mae Brown. Ms. Brown's stand-in, named Molly Bolt, is raised in south central Pennsylvania by adoptive parents of modest social and economic standing. Molly is bright, inquisitive, judgmental, pushy, and rambunctious. By the time the family moves to Florida, Molly has shed her adolescent naiveté (actually, I'm not sure she ever displayed naiveté) and had a lesbian encounter with a 6th grade classmate.

In Florida, Molly is simultaneously the top student and the principal subversive of the established school order. She has sex with classmates, both male and female. Graduating with top honors, Molly heads off to college with a full scholarship. Though a stellar student, she continues to aggressively challenge social mores and has the scholarship taken from her. Rather than a diplomat, she's a brassy rebel, always ready to argue.

Ostensibly, RJ is important because the narrator/protagonist is an unabashed lesbian. In 1972, when the book was written, it was one of relative few mainstream books unapologetically presenting the lesbian view. But it's much too much a potboiler.

(I do wonder if Ms. Brown purposefully named her alter-ego after a specialized bit of hardware, a so-called hollow-wall anchor. At one time, it was trademarked as a Molly Bolt and still is widely known as a molly. The fastener is a machine screw inside an expandable sleeve. Drill a hole through a drywall surface and slide the molly into it. A lip prevents it from falling through. Driving the screw causes a portion of the sleeve collapse, opening like an umbrella against the inside of the drywall. Mollies allow pictures, shelves, and other objects to be mounted to a wall in a spot where, seemingly, nothing like a framing stud exists to support it. Is Molly Bolt building support where none previously existed? Certainly she is defying convention.)
  weird_O | Oct 27, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brown, Rita Maeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lammers, GeertjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

rororo (12158)
Ullstein (25305)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Dedicated to
ALEXIS SMITH

Actress, Wit, Beauty, Cook, Kindheart, Irreverent Observer of Political Phenomena, Etc. If I were to list her outstanding qualities, you, dear reader, would be exhausted before you get to page one. So let me just say the abovementioned woman took the time to give me a playful push in the direction of my typewriter. Of course, after you read the book, you may wish that she had pushed me in front of something moving faster than a typewriter.
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No one remembers her beginnings.
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Leroy bet me I couldn't find a pot of gold at the end, and I told him that was a stupid bet because the rainbow was enough.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Born a bastard, Molly Bolt is adopted by a dirt-poor Southern couple who want something better for their daughter. Molly plays doctor with the boys, beats up Leroy the tub and loses her virginity to her girlfriend in sixth grade. As she grows to realize she's different, Molly decides not to apologize for that. In no time she mesmerizes the head cheerleader of Ft. Lauderdale High and captivates a gorgeous bourbon-guzzling heiress. But the world is not tolerant. Booted out of college for moral turpitude, an unrepentant, penniless Molly takes New York by storm, sending not a few female hearts aflutter with her startling beauty, crackling wit and fierce determination to become the greatest filmmaker that ever lived.-Back cover.

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