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Rubyfruit Jungle

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  33,960 ratings  ·  1,388 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, 246 pages
Published October 1980 by Bantam Books (first published 1973)
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Tamar I haven't even read this book yet but I'm gonna go all out on a whim and say SHE WAS ATTRACTED TO OTHER FEMALES…moreI haven't even read this book yet but I'm gonna go all out on a whim and say SHE WAS ATTRACTED TO OTHER FEMALES(less)

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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,960 ratings  ·  1,388 reviews

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Donna Davis
Oct 10, 2012 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 "roommate" of many years was not just a roommate 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, occasi
Nov 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Tatiana by: jess
Shelves: queer-trans
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,
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recs, 2019
Fast moving and dynamic, Rubyfruit Jungle vividly sketches the coming of age of a lesbian in postwar America. The autobiographical novel follows Molly Brown, the adopted daughter of a destitute family, as she grows up in Florida struggling with her sexuality and later as she runs away to New York to pursue a career as a filmmaker and a life among other lesbians. The dialogue-heavy novel resembles a screenplay, and its episodic plot is compulsively readable; the story’s powerfully bookended by Mo ...more
Dec 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Kells Perry
Oct 15, 2014 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
Sabrina Chap
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Emily B
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book immediately and can find little fault with it!
Richard Derus
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After Six of One, my favorite of lesbian legend among women Rita Mae Brown's witty, delightful books. The fact that the young woman protagonist is a film student, and the film that she's shown to have made, kept me riveted to the page. (I dated a lot of film students in 1970s Austin.) The fact that not a lot of women went to film school, at least not that I saw at their sausage fests, made the fiery transgressiveness of the whole tale all the more exciting. Break every boundary, ignore every nor ...more
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: push-fake-morals
It always amazes me how much you can gain even from the smallest book— if it is written right.
I am not exactly predestined to make profound statements here. Compared to the main character I have the wrong sex and am in the wrong age. I also live in the wrong country, at the wrong time, and was not brought up by foster parents. Over and above I’m heterosexual. So what attracts me to Molly Bolt so much? Why can I identify with her? I guess it’s her individuality, her unique character, the swimming
Oct 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
I'm seriously reconsidering this Fallback Friday idea. If the old books are all like this one, I don't think I'll be able to handle it.

This book was a flat out mess. I'm sitting here so angry after reading it.

I did not like Molly Bolt. Not even a little bit.

This story follows Molly Bolt from when she was 11 all the way until her mid twenties. We read her life in sectioned off parts. Her childhood, her junior high/high school, and young adult college time frames. She was a detestable brat throug
Anna Avian
Jun 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about resilience and overcoming adversity while everybody around you is betting on your failure. I'm glad I picked it up this Pride Month and I wish it kept on for a little while longer. And although times may have changed a lot, Rubyfruit Jungle is still just as resonant and relevant today as it ever was and will remain a staple in LGBTQ literature for years to come. ...more
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, lgbtq
A classic in lgbtqia+ literature that though enjoyable wasn’t overall my cup of tea.

We follow our protagonist Molly throughout her life, starting as a toddler. We watch her brazenly accept herself and defy all social conventions.

Molly seems to be able to seduce and meet every non-straight woman within a 50 mile radius and just happen into a situation that makes her life a little bit better but never above being better than anyone else!! This cycle was repeated over and over again.

It was a little
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
good but i could’ve done without the incest
Danielle N
As always, you may also find this review on the blog.

My Thoughts

Rubyfruit Jungle was selected by Ceri from Bookmarks and Postcards as part of my running feature, You Choose, I Read. As soon as I read the short, sweet synopsis and skimmed a few reviews, I knew this was kismet. I cannot honestly say how this book has flown under my radar for so long. I am almost ashamed of this fact. But thanks to Ceri, we have been rightfully united. I love this book!

The skinny..

This is a fictional biography of s
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. ...more
Jennifer Peas
Jun 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
I have this dream that Archie Bunker is reading this book

yet Meathead is more upset with the novel

[and Gloria says she would rather be a crazy cat lady and write mystery novels than read that weird book!]
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
I was quite disappointed in this. It was the first lesbian classic that I didn't love. First of all she didn't end up "happy". She was alone and had a qualification in an industry which was too sexist to let her get a job in her field. That's not a happy ending. The thing that I love best about the old pulps are that they are so breathtakingly and heartbreakingly honest. The emotions in them are so raw. This just felt cold and artificial. She moved from one stage of her life to the other and not ...more
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Samantha A
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, I loved this book. I laughed and I cried and it reminded me to be so thankful and grateful for those who came before me and paved the way. Those who made it possible for me to be out and comfortable enough to not have my life crashing down around me because of who I love. We have come so far, but we truly still have so far to go.

I want to live in a world where I can walk down the street holding my girlfriends hand without having to endure the nasty stares and the horrible comments muttered
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it

This was kind of a strange book? Also the plot is a bit nonexistent. If anything, Rubyfruit Jungle is a character study more than a plot-based novel. Sure our main character, Molly, goes through life, but the action doesn't ever culminate in something that really felt like an ending. Molly's story was not complete and left off on a pretty hopeless note.

There was a lot of this book that I enjoyed. The humor fell short for me on more than one occasion though. I liked seeing Molly's journey t
Mar 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
Who doesn't love the irrepressible Molly Bolt? With time comes understanding, and I gleaned much more meaning from this book the second time around. ...more
Conor Ahern
This was our June book club pick. It won out over "Fun Home" and "A Brief History of Seven Killings," two of my absolute favorites, in our Pride-themed book club. I'm glad to have read this book because it was the only title I hadn't read, and also because lesbian literature is something I am realizing I'm woefully underexposed to.

This roman à clef stars a bright young woman in provincial Florida with designs on greatness. Common as a feature in queer youth lit (e.g., "The End of Eddy"), the pro
Sasha Haasnoot
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
4.5 stars. This is an intelligently written, coming of age story with a very likeable (bisexual?) main characters, Molly, who never accepts an answer or will be told what to do and kicks againts all her disadvantages and to the bigotry facing her. It was really empowering for me and I just couldn't believe that this books was written in 1970, it was so modern. ...more
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia, melcat

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
Alanna Why
Apr 30, 2020 rated it liked it
"Jesus Christ, I'll never understand straight people!"

Published in 1973, Rubyfruit Jungle was one of the first best-selling books to explicitly detail a lesbian woman's coming-of-age story. Growing up poor in the U.S. South in the 1950s, Molly always knew she was attracted to girls. Still, she never had any qualms about it - the only concerns came from everyone around her. After being kicked out of the house, Molly heads to New York City to follow her dreams of artistic and sexual freedom.

Avery (Book Deviant)
See more of my reviews on my blog the Book Deviant

I honestly don't know what to say about this book. Rubyfruit Jungle began in a way that I knew I would ultimately love. Molly, the protagonist, told stories about her childhood, which were hilarious, and I just couldn't get over how strong of a character and woman Molly was. As she grew older, Molly retained her fiery personality, no matter how her family reacted towards her. And, considering how much her adoptive mother hated her, I was pleasant
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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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