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Rubyfruit Jungle

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  27,973 Ratings  ·  999 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

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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
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Tatiana
Nov 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
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 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
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Nathan
Dec 12, 2015 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
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
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Matt
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
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Kayla 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
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Lualncol
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
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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.
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.
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
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Hilary
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
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
Samantha A
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it
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
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Genna
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
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Rena
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.
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.
Amelia
Mar 03, 2013 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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Mel
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
Conor
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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Sam
Jan 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
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.
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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Meen
Jun 07, 2011 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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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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Lynn
Oct 24, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Iria
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unha marabilla aditiva. Oxalá ver este libro feito serie algún día.

Molly Bolt é unha Rory Gilmore con mala hostia e desprovista dos seus privilexios de rica hetero.
Jennifer
Aug 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
I could not even finish this book. Perhaps a classic, not my thing.
Cendaquenta
Somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4. Thought it was very good and I'm glad I read it, but it didn't quite live up to expectations. Second half had a bit too much misery and sex for my taste, and the entire section with Polina was just... ???

Side note, the page count on this edition is wrong. 216 pages, not 240.
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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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“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.” 34 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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