Start reading Venus Envy on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


Venus Envy [Kindle Edition]

Rita Mae Brown
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.50
Kindle Price: $5.98
You Save: $1.52 (20%)
Sold by: Random House LLC


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $5.98  
Hardcover --  
Paperback --  
Mass Market Paperback $6.75  
Unknown Binding --  
New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Book Description

At thirty-five, Mary Frazier Armstrong, called "Frazier" by friends and enemies alike, is a sophisticated woman with a thriving art gallery, a healthy bank balance, and an enviable social position.  In fact, she has everything to live for, but she's lying in a hospital bed with a morphine drip in her arm and a life expectancy measured in hours.  "Don't die a stranger," her assistant says on her last hospital visit.  "Tell the people you love who you are."  And so, as her last act on earth, Frazier writes letters to her closest family and friends, telling them exactly what she thinks of them and, since she will be dead by the time they receive the letters, the truth about herself: she's gay.

The letters are sent.  Then the manure hits the fan in Charlottesville, Virginia, because the funny thing is, Frazier Armstrong isn't going to die after all.

From the Paperback edition.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The risible title is arguably the best thing about Brown's latest comic novel, the tale of a woman who unwittingly comes out of the closet in midlife when she is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Under the impression that she is on her deathbed, wealthy North Carolina art dealer Mary Frazier Armstrong mails a series of brutally candid letters to her kith and kin, only to discover that she isn't dying after all. Brown delivers some nicely sketched southern characters: Mary Frazier's imperious mother, Libby, whose long-simmering anger has poisoned her daughter's life; her sensitive brother, Carter, an alcoholic redneck whose lifelong self-destructiveness is partly a response to Mary Frazier's success; her closeted lover, Ann, who is made uncomfortable by their claustrophobic secret life; and her dazzlingly outrageous gay friend Billy Cicero. But this gallery of character sketches cannot save the story from predictability and a deeply unconvincing resolution. Arch dialogue, lack of plot and an overall inattentiveness to nuance are the distinguishing features here. Fans of Brown's previous books ( Bingo ; Rest in Pieces ) may enjoy this story, but first-time readers are bound to be disappointed.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

More frothy fun from the queen of southern sexual farce--this featuring a former debutante who comes out of the closet in gossipy, backstabbing Virginia. ``Dying's not so bad. At least I won't have to answer the telephone,'' remarks 35-year-old Mary Frazier Armstrong, who's lying in the hospital with a terminal case of lung cancer. A stressed-out art-gallery owner with brilliant business instincts and drop-dead looks, the well-born Virginian cares more about dying than she'll admit to others and--on what she believes to be her final night--scribbles half a dozen heartfelt messages to her nearest and, in some cases, dearest. The next morning Frazier learns that her diagnosis resulted from a computer error and that she suffers only from bronchitis--but the letters, in which she finally informed her loved ones that she was gay--have already gone to the post office and can't be retrieved. Happy to be alive but dreading the nasty backlash sure to come, Frazier has no choice but to brace herself for the catty remarks, social snubs, tears, and general lambasting that inevitably do come her way. Only Frazier's eccentric aunt, her stoic father, her loyal assistant, a bisexual friend, and, when not in his cups, her layabout brother stand up for Frazier while society's vultures circle to rip her to shreds. But Frazier's a survivor--and when the pressure grows too great, she simply escapes via a fantasy visit into a painting of Mount Olympus, to sport with the ancient, wiser goddesses and gods. Brown's story drapes thinly across a tiresome string of platitudes (``You are as sick as you are secret,'' ``Normal is the average of deviance,'' ``Death is like a punctuation mark, a period at the end of a sentence,'' etc.), but her sexual frankness and flippant humor are as refreshing as always. (First printing of 75,000) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 532 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0553564978
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (October 21, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SXIEV4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,010 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What promise this story had! November 8, 2000
By Starr
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I started reading this book, I thought, Good ol' Rita Mae has out-done herself this time--it was the funniest, cleverist beginning of a book I have ever read--but I would rate the whole book as one of her worst. I recommend you read only the first 4 or 5 chapters--it is hilarious--but then close it up and give it to the book exchange before you get bogged down in the almost unreadable ending. I am a dyed-in-the-wool Rita Mae Brown fan--but this one really goes bad at the end. Her earlier works are much better; Rubyfruit Jungle, Six of One, and Southern Discomfort, High Hearts, and Sudden Death being her best.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a premise that holds promise lost in bad writing August 29, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When I read what this book was about, I thought it sounded interesting - what would we do if we thought we weren't going to live. However, I found the interesting idea was way overshadowed dull characters and writing. The characters are either goody/goody or someone absolutely hateful - very one-dimensional and totally unrealistic. As for style of writing, I felt like the book was written for pre-teenagers - very, very simplistic, although the subject matter certainly is adult. The ending read like some kind of inane dream that the author had one night, embellished with some kind of misdirected how-can-i-make-this-seem-spiritual mythology which seemed to me to be just asinine. I was bored from the beginning but kept reading, hoping it would pick up. Alas, it never did - I was embarrased for the author.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Normal is just the average of deviations." September 6, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I do like Rita Mae Brown. I share many of her notions of the world. I picked this book up as a second RMB read after reading (finally, after all these years) Rubyfruit Jungle to see what was the author and what was the story, if you know what I mean. The premise of the book is great fun! I must say though that reading this book felt like living in someone else's head as they worked through their processes, demons, angels, trying to convince themselves (& the reader). That grew a bit tiresome, esp. towards the end. While Rita can turn a phrase nicely, I found, generally, her dialog was preachy, a little too unnatural for conversation, her arguments a tad pat, abet "unconventionally" so. I will read more Rita Mae.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unpleasantly preachy August 24, 2003
By Isabeau
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A novel like this needs a light touch. Instead, Brown gives us a fantasy sex scene after which the lovers lie in each other's arms discussing Reagan-Bush AIDS policy & the evolutionary purpose of gay people.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Big Disappointment July 8, 2004
By m-lee
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book in not anywhere near Ms Brown's usual standards. Lacklustre story based on an unbelievable premise. Too bad!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to Envy February 25, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After searching for months for a lesbian novel told in the third person, i was really excited to find Venus Envy. I am currently on chapter 22 and I think i'll stop here. I didn't like hte beginning, I haven't liked the progression into the middle and after reading these reviews, I think i'll jsut skip the end. I read Brown's Ruby Fruit Jungle and i had really loved it. Despite some far-fetched plot points, I was able to suspend my belief and give her the benefit of the doubt, but this one.. it just doesn't work. I blame the dialogue. It's really awful. But not that the rest of it is helping much. It feels as if the author let the plot dictate the novel and not the characters and that just makes for bad writing. I'd go for other Brown books, but just not this one.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good premise can't carry the whole novel October 24, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the third Rita Mae Brown book I've read. I loved the first two (Rita Will, Sudden Death). The premise in this novel is hilarious, and about the first third of the book does not disappoint. I'll admit, I could not put it down, but after the first third, it seemed to lose some steam. In other words, the great premise doesn't carry the whole novel. It may have been better as a short story. Anyway, all we're left with when the premise poops out are very one-dimensional characters who are either lovable 100% tolerant saints, or 100% prejudiced, narrow-minded bigots whom you can't choose but to hate. No character falls in between. A few of the plot lines ended up very unrealistic, at least to me. Unlike some of these other reviews, I absolutely loved the sequence in the painting, but I wouldn't have ended the book with it either. The problem is, by the time you get to the painting sequence, the plot has pretty much fallen apart anyway into either the mundane or the wholly unreal. Don't get me wrong, it is an interesting read and the author's humor stays with you throughout, but once the premise wears off, the novel falls apart a little.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book might help you to discover your own truth about life. Every part of the book was marvelous and the ending turned out to be exactly the way I expected. I would like to thank Rita Mae Brown for writing this book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I did not enjoy this book
I thought this was one of her mysteries. I would have returned it if I could have. I do not recommend this. IT was way too explicit for me.
Published 4 months ago by LA Lady
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Rita Mae Brown
I usually read Rita Mae Brown's cat books, but was at a writers workshop, and this book was used to display different covers. I read the back cover and got hooked on it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Donna L. Campbell
4.0 out of 5 stars Venus Envy
I enjoyed the storyline Ms. Brown employed to reveal the main character's sexual preference. A sneak peak into the art world was also fascinating. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sharon Lebeda
5.0 out of 5 stars Rita Mae Brown always delivers
I love Rita Mae Brown. I was introduced to her through her Sneaky Pie Brown mystery series, and have gradually started reading her other books. Venus Envy was superb. Ms. Read more
Published on April 4, 2012 by Tara C
2.0 out of 5 stars Stop before you reach the end
Others have said it but I'll say it again. Great premise, interesting book (despite flaws and a few images I could do without), but what was with the Olympian gods? Read more
Published on February 18, 2011 by karistim
5.0 out of 5 stars I envy Frazier!
This is a very delightful, funny, and sexy read! Not to be missed! Wow! And the author is just gorgeous!
This was my third time thru the Venus Envy. Read more
Published on November 30, 2010 by Rev. Dr. Jude Arnold
3.0 out of 5 stars It Was Fine - Until The Ending!
The good thing about this book is that it's a fast read. Then you hit a wall during the last few chapters when it gets all "mystical" and that's where it lost me. Read more
Published on June 29, 2010 by Nancy C.
2.0 out of 5 stars Showed promise but a disappointing ending
I read this book and it began really well, and I thought that the story had promise but when I read the last quarter of this book, it got really boring, and had to put it down. Read more
Published on July 28, 2006 by Dawn Dellarocco
2.0 out of 5 stars Lazy writing
I thought the beginning of this book was GREAT! So funny and smart. And then it's not. One specific complaint is she has one of the characters go on a page-long tirade against... Read more
Published on February 22, 2006 by dissipatedfog
5.0 out of 5 stars SOOOO Funny
This is the absolute funniest book I've ever read in my life. Strange ending, but laugh-out-loud-by-yourself funny.
Published on September 5, 2005 by Timothy E. Craft
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

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.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category