Book Review: Rubyfruit Jungle

Ruby Fruit Jungle

Rita Mae Brown

Bantam

256 pages

Where to start with this one . . . ?  I can’t say what drew me in about this book but it has been on my radar for years.  I have never really read a book focused entirely on a woman who is coming into her sexuality and discovers she is a lesbian.  Such is the case with Molly Bolt.  Molly is growing up in a rural area and from the start of the book, despite the fact that she is not even a teenager yet, she is a very sexual person.  Her actual experience begins when she has sex with her cousin Leroy, although, not to worry, they are not technically related since Molly is adopted.  Molly doesn’t seem to get much pleasure out of her trysts with Leroy and she begins to also hook up with a girl her age, which she finds much more appealing.  Eventually, right before Molly moves to FL at the end of sixth grade, she is able to spend the night at her friend’s house and things turn even more heated.

Eventually, during college, Molly’s sexuality is thrown out into the open after she and her roommate are caught in a compromising situation.  This being a few decades ago, her college does not take the matter lightly and they withdraw Molly’s scholarships so that she is unable to continue with her schooling.  She returns home to her mother in FL but is immediately thrown out onto the streets because her mother is unable to abide by Molly’s sexuality.  Molly moves to NY and meets women while working to make ends meet and hopefully fulfill her dreams of being a film maker.

Molly is a likeable character.  She is full of sass and very headstrong—definitely a leader.  She is very matter-of-fact and doesn’t take crap from anyone, which constantly causes her to butt heads with her mother Carrie.  The ridicule Molly faces for being a lesbian would get most people down but she didn’t even flinch.  Her devil may care attitude really helped her achieve her dreams and continue living the way she wanted to live despite the oppressiveness she faced due to her sexuality.  However, she is very cavalier about sex to the point where she never really has a relationship with anyone—it’s just all about the sex.

Rubyfruit Jungle was kind of like soft core porn in the sense that the whole book revolved around sex.  It was as if the entire book were written around the sex scenes.  Personally, I have no issues with sex scenes in books—it makes no difference to me whether there is sex or not but in this book, there just didn’t seem to be much substance.  That is a shame because Brown touched on so many issues that really affect the GLBT community but none of those themes were really built up in the book.

Rubyfruit Jungle left much to be desired.   It is worth reading if you are interested in GLBT issues and it is a great choice for the GLBT challenge but the execution just wasn’t there.

Other Reviews:

Bryan’s Book Blog

I borrowed this book from my local library.


This book counts towards the GLBT challenge hosted by Amanda at The Zen Leaf.

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One Response

  1. I reviewed it in January of 2008 after reading it for a GLBT/Q Lit class. My review is HERE

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