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Ruby Fruit Jungle

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  21,888 Ratings  ·  684 Reviews
Bawdy and moving, the ultimate word-of-mouth bestseller, Rubyfruit Jungle is about growing up a lesbian in America--and living happily ever after.
Mass Market Paperback
Published 1980 by Daughters Publishing Co (first published 1973)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Donna Davis
May 02, 2016 Donna Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: see above review.
Recommended to Donna by: my sister
I read this book the year it was published. I was a young woman of 21, and it was during a time when it was still considered shocking, by most of mainstream straight America,to be gay. My sister had recently come out to me, and my head was spinning. We were very close, and she was much older. Her "room mate" of many years was not just a room mate any more. I wasn't sure what to think or feel. In short, I was confused as hell.

This book was a good antidote. Hilariously written, human, sexual, occa
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Tatiana
Jan 03, 2008 Tatiana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: jess
Shelves: lez
i swear i already wrote a review of this book but maybe not.

okay, so you're young, you've suddenly realized you're a lesbian. one out of every two people you talk to in the next year are going to recommend rubyfruit jungle. it is THE coming out book. i wonder if gay men have an equivalent. anyway. personally, i think this book is overhyped. let's remember that this is the same lady who writes murder mysteries with her CAT. that's right, not about her cat, but with her cat. co-authored. i mean,
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Sophie
Dec 29, 2011 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book by accident. Literally and metaphorically, as was trapped in a foreign hospital without anything to read. After pleading with anyone who'd listen (in bad German), one of the nurses said she had one English book at home and this is what she brought me.

By the look of the 70s cover and dreadful blurb making it out to be some sort of erotic lesbo fiction, it didn't look like the sort of book I'd choose for company over Christmas. It just shows you shouldn't judge a book by its cover
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Nathan
Jan 26, 2016 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for my LGBTQIA literature, culture and criticism class, and from it grew a bit of a debate about its artistic merit.

There's definitely quite the case against Rubyfruit Jungle. It hasn't aged particularly well. There's a scene where Molly actually says that "sex with women is dynamite." and many other moments where outdated slang rears its head. Then Brown spends the whole novel plopping one poop joke after another on the reader. The only moments where Brown waxes poetic are when she
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Sabrina Chapadjiev
Seeing as I've been dating women for awhile, I figured I'd finally read this classic of lesbo lit. My review in one word, "eh. . ."

I mean, Brown's got a great handle on a fierce character, and there are streaks of beauty in this jammed story, but the main problem it has more ego than Ayn Rand (whom I love, btw). Rae's main character, Molly, is strong willed, defiant, and brutally brilliant against her slow as molasses thinkin' counterparts and family members. I'm one for a hard headed, knows wh
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Lualncol
Jan 26, 2009 Lualncol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tatiana is not being fair. RMB wrote this book reasonably early in her career, 30 years ago. The humor of the time was different, the references were different, shock value was different, risque was different. At the time it was shockingly welcome. It is still today a very joyful, affirming book for gay, straight, adopted, natural, or just unique.
RMB is older and mellower now (see cat mysteries!) but this is an important, albeit fictionalized, documentation of her thoughts and development at a
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Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
The first few chapters I was laughing so much I was for sure I would be giving this book a high rating. It was a good book that I had not heard of before, thanks library book club. Molly Bolt is an steadfast character and while she just might be Brown living out her younger years, it wasn't the greatest, but still an enjoyable read.
Hilary
Definitely an interesting historical look at some concepts (lesbianism, feminine gender roles in society). I did think it was a little heavy-handed and presumptuous at times (the fact that every woman the protagonist is interested in wants to sleep with her as well, the idea that anyone who can throw off the shackles of societal standards would prefer to be a lesbian because the sex is objectively better, etc.) Also her talent for her chosen career is portrayed in very tell-don't-show manner (my ...more
Jennifer Peas
Jun 10, 2008 Jennifer Peas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book about 8 times in the last 18 years. In it, she mentions bagels & lox. I only JUST, at age 31, figured out what LOX was, though... Thankfully I understood everything else in the book, so we're good. I was just late on the lox stuff.
Jesse
I can't say it's exactly to my tastes, but I quickly found it impossible not to give in to Molly Bolt's unflagging exuberance as she strides through her whirlwind life with gusto and verve, inevitably encountering a lot of people along the way. Many of these characters quickly become hung up on who Molly is, where she came from, what she stands for, and, more often than not, are bewildered by the very potent sexual effect she has on them. Molly, ever disappointed but nonplussed by the reactionar ...more
Genna
May 04, 2007 Genna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of GLBT history
One of the few books regarded as a "classic" of lesbian literature, Ruby Fruit Jungle bothered me. What begins as a not-too-bad lesbian coming of age story evolves into an anti-heterosexual, anti-motherhood manefesto. The plot and the writing suffer as a result, and my own disagreement with the message prevents me from enjoying the book.

I was able to find solace in regarding the book as something of a historical relac - a museum piece of sorts that illustrates well a particular philosophical er
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Kayla Perry
Oct 15, 2014 Kayla Perry rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-and-lesbian
I really debated whether to give this one or two stars because my intense negative reaction to the book doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't written decently.

However, I definitely can't award it anything higher than a two because it was awful in many ways. Here's a list in no particular order why I dislike this novel:

1. Putting down butch lesbians by basically saying there's no point to them (Molly says she might as well be with a man) and also implying from the few she met that they are stupid a
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sydney
May 14, 2007 sydney rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lesbians, women's historians, horndogs
This is a coming-of-age novel about Molly, a tough, smart, adopted lesbian (her mom tells her she's a "bastard") who also happens to have sex with a bunch of dudes (she thinks it's boring) throughout her life. She grows up in Pennsylvania and moves to Florida, then hitchhikes to New York City.

The writing is, at times, too simplistic, and the dialogue forced, but Molly is a funny and likable character. Brown portrays heterosexuals as perpetually unhappy, dishonest with themselves, and (usually)
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Meen
Jun 10, 2011 Meen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Meen by: I guess it's one of those lesbian standards?
6/10/11: It was fun. I liked Molly Bolt before she came to NYC a lot more than I did after. And I saw someone else's review mention that the book was pretty butch-phobic, and that's true. So it was fun, especially before she got to NYC, but mostly just OK.

Something that was interesting about it for me--(I can't help reading as an informal sociologist, it seems.)--was the trenchant gender critique, and the realization that not so long ago the woman as class president, as film director, as uninter
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Hailee
4.5 stars.
I loved it. LOVED it. This was so close to a five star read for me. Half a star off for one scene in particular towards the end, which I'll put in spoilers for those who want to read it. Other than that unfortunate scene, I really loved how this whole book was handled. It tackles race, sexuality, poverty, and sexism. Molly is a fierce narrator who doesn't let anyone tell her what she can or cannot do as a woman. I just loved all of it.

(view spoiler)
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Mind the Book
Ung och kåt - och atletisk latinist!!! Kallas 'coming-out novel' men jag läser den som icke-konformistisk, feministisk och t.o.m. intersektionell pamflett. Ljuvligt idiosynkratisk, normkritisk och vasst humoristisk, dessutom. Hjältinnan är t.ex. en socialt rörlig tomboy, bara det. Denna bok bör fortfarande sättas i händerna på varje ung människa p.g.a. viktig.

"I wanted to go my own way. That's all I think I ever wanted, to go my own way and maybe find some love here and there."

#BOTNS-bingo: krys
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Lynn
Oct 24, 2012 Lynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must have started this book years ago because the first couple of chapters were very familiar. The story is very dated and at the same time not very realistic for the time it took place. There is much better LGBT literature out there but this book deserves recognition for bring one of the first.
Beverly Diehl
This classic coming-of-age tale is something everyone interested in sex-positivity should read. It feels like a memoir (and probably is, in large part), and it is HORRIFYING in the days when people can marry in the US, regardless of their plumbing, to think about people being kicked out of college merely for loving someone of the same sex and being unashamed to say so.

My favorite line: "Love, but not the now and forever kind, with chains around your vagina and a short circuit in your brain." The
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Amelia
Mar 18, 2013 Amelia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: melcat, lgbtq
Hmm.

Things I liked about this book:

1) The way that Molly described her mother's politics as "to the right of Genghis Khan." That is perhaps the best line I have read, ever. Which is important because I generally think that this book was terribly written, and that the dialogue wasn't realistic at all.

2) How anti-marriage and anti-having children this book is. Because I'm an asshole who doesn't want to get married or have kids.

3) The fact that Molly didn't graduate from college and become wildly s
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Carissa
Rubyfruit Jungle has long been a staple in feminist and lesbian libraries, but this story isn’t exclusively for that audience. It’s a story about Molly Bolt, who lives in relative poverty in rural Pennsylvania. This is Molly’s story, and as she tells it from her perspective, we follow her life as it changes and evolves as she herself grows: from the back country of Pennsylvania, to the suburbs of Florida to the mean streets of New York City. During her Florida years we comes to terms with her se ...more
Laura
Clever title. It literally means the vagina and surrounding area.
The first thing I noticed about this book was it's smell. It has a crisp, old book, dusty loveliness. So comforting and everything.

This book does not shy away from many things, laying it out like it is. Meaningful novel about a girl growing up into herself and her sexuality and what that means if she is a lesbian in a homophobic town and household.

Molly has so much wisdom even as an 11 year old girl, or maybe because she is an 1
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Ginger Leroy
This is dated and badly badly written. The dated part I can forgive. It was, after all, written in 1973. But the badly written part? I've been a fan of Rita Mae Brown for a very long time. I love the Mrs. Murphy series. Ruby Fruit Jungle is Ms. Brown's first work. I am happy that she pursued further writing...but this work. UGH!!! It is written from a feminist perspective and that's fine. I'm all for that. But her protagonist...Molly Bolt encounters more discrimination that I can believe was pos ...more
Jane
This was a powerful read that made me feel like I could be or do anything.

Molly is an absolutely captivating main character and seeing her life transition from a young child to an older adult.

I can't even describe all the great things about this book, there are so many. The best parts in this book are always when Molly is talking. Describing herself, her sexuality, how the world looks to her, any time Molly opens her mouth to speak her mind is humbling. Every line of her conversations with othe
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Adam
Jun 05, 2013 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coming of age story of Molly Bolt, a tom-boy through high school, smart, pretty, popular, lesbian. Attends college on full scholarship, but the influence of her roommate causes the Dean to force her out during her first year... Shamed by her family, she packs up and moves to NYC. Molly makes her way, parties with rich and famous, graduates NYU summa cum laude. But it wasn't easy, every turn of the page is a fight for her to overcome the obstacles of being a woman especially with the prejudice of ...more
Dana
Sep 07, 2012 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I know this book is highly regarded, but I feel like it may be a product of its time and hasn't aged well. The dialogue is hokey and doesn't always ring true, and this seems more like a wish fulfillment-type story than something real. From a quick scan of the author's Wikipedia page, "Rubyfruit Jungle" seems to be based on her own experiences growing up, but this seemed like a case of "Oh man, I wish I'd said that to him," - like thinking of a comeback to a putdown when you're far past the exper ...more
Vyr
May 09, 2015 Vyr rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Do you ever pick up a book and find yourself halfway through analyzing why this must have appealed to a number of people at one point? I mean, sure, but to have a book go DOWNHILL after that point seems like an exercise in mockery. I understand why this is important as an early lesbian novel but I'd happily sacrifice that value to never hear or know about this book again. Warnings for discussions/(endorsements?) of CSA and incest.
Dharma
Apr 11, 2009 Dharma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-women
I just reread that and was amazed how much I did not like it. Mostly the writing is amateurish, luckily she improved in this area. The story reads much more like "I wish I had been this brave and sure, so I'm going to write like I wanted to be, not how I actually was".
Libby Hemphill
Both stars are for historical significance, basically. Well, maybe half a star for the couple times I laughed. I don't actually recommend this book.
Mia Michalek
Oct 02, 2012 Mia Michalek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this while in high school and I really enjoyed it. I think that I will have to put it in my reread pile!
Jennifer
Aug 16, 2015 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could not even finish this book. Perhaps a classic, not my thing.
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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
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More about Rita Mae Brown...

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“It doesn't matter to me. We're still cousins in our own way. Blood's just something old people talk about to make you feel bad.” 31 likes
“I mean, what do people talk about when they're married?" "Their kids, I guess." "Maybe that's all they have in common.” 28 likes
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