Three out of Five Stars
The Summary: A landmark coming-of-age novel that launched the career of one of this country’s most distinctive voices, Rubyfruit Jungle remains a transformative work more than forty years after its original publication. In bawdy, moving prose, Rita Mae Brown tells the story of Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a dirt-poor Southern couple who boldly forges her own path in America. With her startling beauty and crackling wit, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes—and she refuses to apologize for loving them back. This literary milestone continues to resonate with its message about being true to yourself and, against the odds, living happily ever after.
Rubyfruit Jungle is a book one of my graduate studies professors recommended to me for a term project in comparison of a classical vs. contemporary work. I hadn’t ever heard of this book and out of all the choices, this sounded like the least torturous option out of them all. I actually read it over the weekend and enjoyed the story, although I don’t see it in the amazing light that so many other people have. And I’m not going to review it in a literary way because I already have to do that for class.
Molly Bolt is most definitely gay. I figured that out very quickly when she decided to make money off of getting her cousin to show other students his penis. She didn’t care at all as to what he was packing. I think that was the best part of this book, even if it through me way off, I was cracking up laughing at how methodical she was at getting her money.
We get to watch Molly as she grows up in the south and how each experience she has in different times of her life impact who she ultimately becomes. First we meet Molly in elementary school. Middle school is when she first kisses a girl and falls in a younger version of love. Then, in high school she has sex with her ‘cousin’, who really isn’t her biological cousin but a male sexual partner.
I really started to enjoy this book once Molly went to college. She finds love in a sorority sister and once they are discovered, there goes their college careers. This was the relationship that I was most invested in. They were friends first, sarcastic, witty, and jerks to each other kind of friends. The pair felt real compared to the rest of Molly’s love interest. I think perhaps because of how everything played out. I felt for them.
No matter the trouble Molly found herself in, she never gave up. She was still sassy and one hundred percent herself. She didn’t make any apologies for being a lesbian, enjoying living a much different lifestyle than she did where she grew up. She fought for what she wanted and I admired that about her.
Now, do I recommend this to every person who is coming out the closet? Eh, probably not. It was a good read and I can see the literary value in it. The boundaries were pushed upon its first publication in the early seventies. It could be seen as quite racy in several sections. I do think if you are into literary fiction this is a great read for you to pick up and try out.