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Alma Mater

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  751 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Sex makes monkeys out of all of us. If you don’t give in to it, you wind up a cold, unfeeling bastard. If you do, you spend the rest of your life picking up the pieces. . . .

At the start of senior year at William & Mary, the six-foot-tall, raven-haired beauty Victoria “Vic” Savedge finds her future mapped out in detail. She will marry Charly Harrison, the son of one
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 29th 2002 by Ballantine Books (first published October 30th 2001)
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(showing 1-30)
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What a frustrating book. The characters are portrayed with such life that they remain memorable, despite a rather large cast of characters for a novel of this genre. Brown has problems with the prose, especially with being clear about who and what people, animals, and places are when they are introduced. I could forgive those problems, however, and truly did until the last 80 pages. This charming romantic comedy begins a slow decay into melodrama around page 180, and continues to slide downhill ...more
Jul 16, 2014 Elisabeth rated it liked it
Shelves: knit-n-read, 2014
Tough to rate. Some parts felt so forced, yet other parts felt very real. For example, a lot of the dialogue, especially at the beginning, caused me lots of eye rolling. But the character building made me like and invest in the trio at the center of the story. Some characters felt extraneous, like the old guy with the middle-aged daughters, though I admit I liked the bit with the cow. A real mix of good points and bad, so I'll stick right in the middle with 3 stars (though it's really a 2.5!).
Feb 01, 2008 schmoozie rated it did not like it
I don't know what happened to RMB on this one. It was just awful. The writing, the story, all of it...blech!
Mar 06, 2008 Milay rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
Started this book but could not get over the poor style of writing, the immediate cliches, boring story and weak characters. Finally had to put it down, planning on returning it to the bookstore.
R.E. Bradshaw
Dec 21, 2010 R.E. Bradshaw rated it really liked it
Liked it, but not my fav Rita Mae
Oct 13, 2016 Hannah rated it really liked it
I love Rita Mae Brown. End of story.
Sep 09, 2010 Alena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, fiction
I'm pretty sure it's been over a decade since I read a Rita Mae Brown novel. Talking animals are just not my thing, I guess.

I must say I've enjoyed delving back into her Southern world. The people are funny and definitely unique (without being looked down on), the women are strong and independent (mostly) only the men aren't portrayed quite as positively but still lovable. And although I'm not a fan of coming out stories, this one was refreshing and nicely undramatic. It just was what it was.

Amy Scissors
May 25, 2013 Amy Scissors rated it liked it
Well, I enjoyed all of the sexytimes scenes in this book, but not a whole lot else, unfortunately. The characters were not well developed and there were way too many characters to possibly keep track of; by the last page I still had no idea who Sissy, Frank, and Georgia were- and I really did try to pay attention! The comic scenes felt forced into a book that is heavy handed with drama; the last fifty or so pages are so dramatic that it feels like a parody of itself. I really wish I liked this ...more
Meredith Mc
Apr 25, 2014 Meredith Mc rated it it was amazing
My favorite Rita Mae Brown book so far. I haven't followed her mystery series, but I've read pretty much everything else she's written and this book is great. The main characters are likeable, the story is both a timeless love story and a tale of the time in which it's set (1980). A time with more freedom and hope for acceptance then that of Molly Bolt in Rubyfruit Jungle, but still much less accepting than now (or 2001, when it was published). If it's not yet a classic of queer literature, then ...more
Ellen Moore
May 21, 2014 Ellen Moore rated it did not like it
This was not a favorite book of mine. I had read others by this author--some of her Mrs. Murphy mystery series--but did not like them because I don't like books with animals that talk. Unfortunately, this book also disappointed. There was some humor in the book, and I suppose the book demonstrated well the confusion experienced by many college students. Other than that, I can't think of much positive about it. I won't try other books by this author.
Oct 20, 2015 Marissa rated it it was ok
This was actually my second time reading Alma Mater. I had read it back in high school when I was first looking for LGBT books. I remembered being torn but now I kind of wish I never re-read it. I WANTED TO LOVE IT SOOOOO BAD. I LOVE Rita Mae Brown and some of her other books have such a special place in my heart. There was hope for this one, I feel like it could have been really good but UGH it just wasn't for me. I'm sad about it.
Ruby Hollyberry
This was a pleasant-enough read but it is basically a weak reworking of material from Rubyfruit Jungle mixed with the off-screen implied ending of Venus Envy. The only character in the book that I don't recognize from another book of hers is Mignon, the protagonist's younger sister, but some of the family dynamics here appear to be reworked from Riding Shotgun! I think I am suffering from having reread some of her books too many times. :)
Melody Wolfe
May 10, 2015 Melody Wolfe rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, life-fiction
Main character was independent and strong. Love interest was smart and sweet. Other characters were heart-warmingly real and frustrating in turn. Well-written all around, and an incredibly enjoyable read. If you want some unconventional romance, a happy-healthy-realistic romance, or a nice lesbian (with strong bisexual themed tones) romance - this is the book for you.
J. Ewbank
Mar 13, 2010 J. Ewbank rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, novel
TLhis is a romance novel and I am used to the cat series by Rita Mae Brown, which I really enjoy.

This story has just enough, sex, humor, love, and pace to make it an interesting and enjoyable read.

Would read others of this type from this author.

J. Robert Ewbank, anthor "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
Feb 26, 2010 Nicole rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
Very entertaining. I enjoyed Vic, Chris, and Jinx as well as Vic's family. I could imagine them easily and they seem like a fun crowd to hang with.

About halfway through the book, I thought it was going to have a very predictable ending. However, there was a twist I wasn't expecting that led to a much better conclusion than I had anticipated. That made me very happy.
Jan 04, 2012 Sandy rated it it was ok
This is a lesbian romance novel. The plot was decent enough with a few twists I didn't see coming. I found the characters and dialogue a bit one-dimensional though. It just felt like it could have been meatier and the characters fleshed out more. I'm finding this to be the case with all the things I read by Rita Mae Brown so maybe we're just not clicking.
Con questo libro ho "fatto pace" con Rita Mae Brown. Non so se il finale �� troppo ottimistico ed edulcorato, tinto di rosa come una favoletta, ma certe storie non possono sempre essere tragiche e disperate! Spunti comici e surreali, un'america che mi domando sempre se sia romanzata o sia proprio cos��. Romanzo piacevole e scorrevole che mi tenta col proseguire con la stessa autrice.
Laura Brown
Jul 12, 2015 Laura Brown rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I have never read a story like this. I loved the characters. They are southern and twisted in that Virginia kind of way. The romantic triangle of Vic and Charly and Chris unfolded thoughtfully. Everything turned out so perfectly, but that is just not how most stories like this are likely to end.
Aug 15, 2008 Tim rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It’s really hit or miss with me with her books. This one was OK, although I don’t think I recommend it to anyone. A university student from the South is expected to marry the all-American boy, but then discovers the love of her life is a woman.
Jan 26, 2011 Ericka rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
A few of RMBs books became favorites when I read them years ago (Bingo, Six of One, Rubyfruit Jungle). I realized recently that I hadn't read one of her books since Venus Envy, so I decided to remedy that & chose this one off the library shelf. What a huge disappointment! I'm sorry I even bothered.
Oct 07, 2009 Cwides rated it it was ok
Oh, I wanted to love this book, but it reads like Sweet Valley High - the gay, college years. Was Ruby Fruit really that much better or was I just so desperate for lesbo literature. Rita Mae is as cute as kitten, but Jeanette Winterson, she is not. Damn it.
Jul 29, 2015 Hilary rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dharma Kelleher
Dec 02, 2008 Dharma Kelleher rated it did not like it
I've enjoyed many of Rita Mae Brown's books, but this was failed to live up to her reputation. Cardboard and cliche' characters and a story that builds up steam only to go nowhere. It's because of books like this that I tend to stay away from schlock lesbian romance.
Mar 05, 2013 Marcela rated it really liked it
Shelves: lesbian-fiction
What I enjoyed the most about this book was when parents, children, neighbors and friends got together because they were all funny, interesting characters. Great book with a twist at the end which I did not expect.
Dec 16, 2009 Jodi rated it liked it
While reading this book, I kept thinking "have I read this before". Or maybe I just read a later novel about the same character. It is the typical Rita Mae Brown novel. A beautiful lesbian in Virginia, vivid characters, and an interesting story.
Mar 26, 2013 Mary rated it liked it
it was a good book however i do wish they didnt focus on the family so much. Also not the biggest fan of the ending. I feel as if there could have been more detail on the end and less on the random family stuff in the middle.
Oct 02, 2008 Cheryl rated it it was ok
This book seemed like a waste of time. Formulaic Rita Mae Brown. I grew tired of it quickly, skimmed it, and didn't miss a beat.
Feb 05, 2010 Cher rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, homosensual
coming of age story about homo southern belles in the most of her books I liked it better line by line than as a whole
Apr 19, 2014 Ann rated it it was ok
I was a big fan of Rita Mae Brown's early novels. I've just read 2 in a row that are just not the same standard. Too bad.
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Rita Mae Brown is a prolific American writer, most known for her mysteries and other novels (Rubyfruit Jungle). She is also an Emmy-nominated screenwriter.

Brown was born illegitimate in Hanover, Pennsylvania. She was raised by her biological mother's female cousin and the cousin's husband in York, Pennsylvania and later in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Starting in the fall of 1962, Brown attended the Un
More about Rita Mae Brown...

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“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” 1088 likes
“Sex makes monkeys out of all of us. If you don’t give in to it, you wind up a cold, unfeeling bastard. If you do, you spend the rest of your life picking up the pieces. . . .” 19 likes
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