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Rubyfruit Jungle Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1983

133 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"I found myself laughing hysterically, then sobbing uncontrollably just moments later. A powerful story ... A truly incredible book."
-- The Boston Globe

Molly Bolt is a genuine descendant -- genuine female descendant -- of Huckleberry Finn. And Rita Mae Brown is, like Mark Twain, a serious writer who gets her messages across through laughter."
-- Donna E. Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services

From the Publisher

Rubyfruit Jungle is the first milestone novel in the extraordinary career of one of this country's most distinctive writers. Bawdy and moving, the ultimate word-of-mouth bestseller, Rubyfruit Jungle is about growing up a lesbian in America--and living happily ever after. 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 and loses her virginity to her girlfriend. Molly decides not to apologize for that. In no time she mesmerizes the head cheerleader of Ft. Lauderdale 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 when first published, Rubyfruit Jungle has only grown in reputation as it has reached new generations of readers who respond to its feisty and inspiring heroine.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (May 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055327886X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553278866
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of the Sister Jane novels-Outfoxed, Hotspur, Full Cry, The Hunt Ball, The Hounds and the Fury, The Tell-Tale Horse, and Hounded to Death-as well as the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries and Rubyfruit Jungle, In Her Day, Six of One, and The Sand Castle, among many others. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on July 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rita Mae Brown's novel "Rubyfruit Jungle" had me laughing out loud by the time I reached page 5. The book tells the life story of Molly Bolt, a poor girl who comes from rural Pennsylvania. Molly narrates the book, which follows her to her adolescent years in Florida and to her life as a struggling film student in New York. Along the way, Molly lives her life as a sexually liberated young lesbian.
Molly is a wonderful character: a witty, intelligent combination of artist and trickster. The book is full of humor and satirical outrageousness. Molly is surrounded by a colorful cast of characters, most notably her strong-willed mother. The narrative as a whole is well-structured, and Brown brings Molly's story to a very satisfying conclusion.
As funny as "Rubyfruit" is, it also has some relevant insights on a number of issues: mother-daughter relationships, anti-gay prejudice, sexism in academia, socioeconomic barriers, etc. Molly's desire to be a filmmaker is a key theme: she is a creative individual who wants to tell relevant stories about "real people," and not just impress some pompous group of cultural elites.
Brown's prose style is excellent: muscular, sexy, lively, humane, down-to-earth, and always enjoyable. For a good companion text, try Audre Lorde's "Zami," a moving narrative of African-American lesbian life.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Nona on May 29, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have been reading all of the customer reviews, and it seems that they have been missing the whole point of this book. By no means is this a "lesbian" book, or a book that completely focuses on dealing with "coming out". Nor should this book be read exclusively by lesbians. It's a book that simply follows a unique, strong young woman from when she was a kid to when she grows up into her 20's. Futhermore, the simple style is the essence of the book; more complicated wording would not embody the character of Molly nearly as well. The point is that Molly, who is sassy and a shamelessly cut-and-dry lesbian, does not think that things should be overanalyzed and obsessed over. She sees everything as obvious and blatant. Hence the simple language. It is an unapologetic, extremely funny book, and it is hard to put it down. It pulls you in from the beginning and continues to stay exciting throughout this girl's tumultuous life. In some ways she grows, but in others she never does compromise her gutsy, fiery self. I loved it.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Miss D. AwesomePants on March 19, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well-written jewel. Rita Mae Brown's dialogue and plot is interesting from the very first page. The book tells the story of a lower-class girl growing up, her learning about sex and dealing with her own homosexuality, leaving home and starting a life of her own, college, city life, dating, etc. The reader identifies with Molly through all of her hardships and celebrates with her through her joyous relationships. This book deals with lesbianism in a very realistic manner, but at the same time could appeal to heterosexual women and men of all types. It is a coming of age story that is simplistic, yet incredibly ... can i say perfect. It's a very short book, and easy weekend read for pure enjoyment. I'd highly recommend this book - to anyone.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Brian on April 12, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've just recently finished this novel for a college class I'm in dealing with gender and sexualities. The novel tells the coming-of-age story of Molly Bolt in primarily the 50's. As a child adopted by a very poor southern couple, Molly comes to realize early in her life she's a lesbian and she doesn't intend to apologize for this. Despite her family situation, she'a very smart and witty girl and people are drawn to her. After being kicked out by her mother who discovered she's lesbian, she goes out on her own determined to be successful.
I have to say like most other people in my class, I liked the character of Molly. She's smart, funny and witty. But, the book often seemed very unrealistic. Virtually every woman she meets that's her own age about ends up wanting to have sex with her once they discover she's lesbian. Now, I realize that must sound like an exaggeration, but if you read it you'll see it's not. The way in which she always ends up having sex with women is kind of hard to believe and some of her sexual encounters are comical. With all the sex she has and the gay people she meets, this book makes it seem like almost half the population is gay which I'm pretty sure isn't true, but these points shouldn't deter someone from reading the book if they're really interested. At one point, what's really weird is when Molly has sex with a woman who is a mother and her daughter finds out about it and starts to like Molly too and then wants to have sex with her own mother. That was even harder to believe.
But, the novel is easy reading and it's definitely something that's controversial. I can only imagine what people's reactions were to it when it came out. I think this book is worth reading since it's so simple and not particularly long.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Doug Vaughn HALL OF FAME on December 14, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am struck by how many of the reviewers felt they had to categorize this book as 'lesbian fiction.' OK, it is written by a lesbian and its central character is a lesbian and most of the book deals with issues related to sexual orientation. But all books have to be about something, and whether one is a lesbian or not, this book deals with the same human issues that confront everyone in growing up and makeing a place in the world. The very things that some of the reveiwers criticise - the humor and lightness of touch on some serious issues - is exactly what makes this book accessable to the reading public at large and really saves it from being simply 'lesbian fiction'. It is a truely entertaining and (for those who need it) informative book. Lesbians may, indeed, have a predisposition to like it because the themes are more immediate and personal, but all readers can relate.
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