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Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  425 ratings  ·  20 reviews
When Rita Mae Brown writes, people often end up laughing out loud.  So naturally, when the bestselling author of Rubyfruit Jungle, Venus Envy, and the Mrs. Murphy mystery series writes about her own life, it's a hoot, a rollicking ride with an independent, opinionated woman who changed literary history--the first openly lesbian writer to break into the mainstream.  Now, in ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published January 5th 1999 by Bantam (first published October 1st 1997)
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My most bizarre and probably irrelevant takeaway from this book: When Rita Mae Brown told her boyfriend (in the 1960s, I think?) that she wasn't going to marry him he was like "WELL THE ONLY GIRL I WANT IS YOU SO I'M GOING TO GO SLEEP WITH DUDES NOW." And then he was (from what I could tell) exclusively gay eventually. What?? That was never fully explained. I found it rather humorous.

Oh yes, also... Rita Mae Brown, acclaimed lesbian, is not... actually a lesbian, strictly speaking. Definitely qu
Freyja Vanadis
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was interesting to read about her childhood and early adulthood, and I feel sorry for her because her mom and Aunt Mimi were absolute monsters. But now her novels make sense, because they're all based on her family members.
And I enjoyed reading about her experiences with other people and the way she dropped names.
However, she needs to quit calling herself a lesbian. Anyone who dates and has sex with both men and women is bisexual, not homosexual. That was a huge
May 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book is horrible. It appears not to have been edited on iota. It is almost 500 pages of self-absorbed, egotistical, name dropping, irrelevant, obtuse, ramblings. This was very surprising, considering it was written by the author of a really good book, Rubyfruit Jungle. There was also plenty of substance that would have made for interesting reading, but it was so unedited and badly written that it was difficult to ferret out the substance. I just cannot understand how her publishers allowed ...more
Feb 26, 2010 added it
Loved it! Bought this book when it first came out, at Women and Children First Bookstore in Chicago, on the night that Rita Mae did a reading from this book. She signed it, too! What a memorable night!
R.E. Bradshaw
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, but then I really like Rita Mae. If you're a fan, you'll like it.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
The subtitle says it all: "Memoir of a literary rabble-rouser". Rita Mae Brown is as interesting a person as I hoped, and has led as interesting a life as I had hoped, when I picked this book up. This is a good look at one of the first (semi?) famous "out" lesbians in our culture, and as such it is well worth the read for the insight that that perspective brings, even if the writer was not so interesting and so enjoyable a writer as she is.
Jennifer Jank
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have always liked the Sneaky Pie mysteries, and as an adult I read her earlier work. I really enjoy her writing. Her descriptions of her childhood are amusing, but for me the memoir really kicks into gear once she begins writing about her time with the feminist movement in the 60s/70s and the struggles of including gay people in the movement.
R.J. Gilmour
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
America is a series of river crossings; these rivers made us rich. They left the soil that has made us the breadbasket of the world, whether it’s the James or the Ohio, the Mississippi or the Missouri. The great rivers define us and made transportation possible until the railroads revolutionized life in the 1830s and 1840s.
Rita Mae Brown. Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble Rouser (New York: Bantam Books, 1997): 295

I realized that liking or not liking someone was irrelevant. It was the time i
Prooost Davis
Dec 21, 2007 rated it did not like it
This is the worst book I've ever read all the way through. The writing style leaves everything to be desired, and there's hardly a page without some sort of error. I came to the conclusion that, either Bantam no longer employs editors and proofreaders, or that they just didn't like the author.

As far as the content is concerned, I hope the characters in Rita Mae Brown's novels are more interesting than the people she describes here.
Jul 27, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: lovers of rita mae brown
this book has some good, scattered parts, but really it's not as powerful or tight as "rubyfruit jungle."

One good part, tho, is when Rita starts rambling about Martina Nartilova, the tennis champ who she dated. Oh, Rita will ramble! Then suddenly she's talking about the time she pulled a .38 pistol on beloved Martina, and shot in her direction! This was after their tumultous breakup, granted, but still!

Oh, Rita...
Thorn MotherIssues
Mar 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2009
If you've read a Rita Mae Brown novel, you've read much of this story already. I enjoyed hearing about her education, her family, the story of her adoption and its impact on her role in Southern society, what it was like to be the most prominent lesbian of her era and work in and around the feminist movement, how she loves animals.... A fun read, but not earth-shattering or anything, which is exactly what I expected of it.
Kathleen Granger
Apr 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting read. I have read many of her books & loved most of them. This autobiography wasn't as entertaining as her fiction but captivating nonetheless. It is always interesting to get a glimpse of the 'real person'! She is one of my all time favorite writers, she is an amazing storyteller & writer. ...more
Jun 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book was OK, but I was expecting more. It actually had very little of her own life in it, and a lot of her opinions of other people, which was a little off-putting. I felt like I could have learned as much about her from reading an article in a popular magazine. Since it was a memoir, I was really expecting a little bit more of her in it
Kunni Biener
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it
oh, Rita Mae ends up coming off as a little nasty and a little bitter. The first part was the true story of her childhood, much of which she has previously fictionalized, so if you have read her books, the beginning was a little boring. Took me years to read this, finally finished it for a book group. Moving on.....
Feb 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Can't read Rita's novels, but I enjoyed her gossipy memoir and getting an inside look at her strange amalgamation of libertarian and radical lesbian commitments. The Lavender Menace and fox hunts! Undeniably, an original.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent memoir from the author of the Mrs. Murphy mystery series.
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite memoirs. Rita Mae writes best when she's writing about herself.
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I meet her one evening in Boston at a bookstore. I was carrying this book and looking at others and she asked if I wanted her to sign it. Again, I love her stuff!
Apr 03, 2008 rated it liked it
This book is much more informative than warranted, but there is some good celebrity dirt.
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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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