Originally published 2015-12-23: Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown | Book Review Wednesday
Rita Mae Brown is a name that I had heard over and over again in LGBT fiction circles, but I never got around to reading her work until this year. I can’t believe I waited so long. I feel like I wasted years of my life not reading this Lambda Award-winning author.
Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown is the story of one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever read. Molly Bolt is a grown-up Scout Finch, if she had ever really embraced what most of us thought she would become: a stone-cold gay woman.
Molly’s brave, funny, and filthy-mouthed, and that’s only half of it. At an early age, she deals with poverty, child abuse, and the rigid gender roles of 1950s America (and into the late ’60s).
Precocious and lovably bullheaded, Molly wanted to be everything from a doctor to a filmmaker to the President of the United States. Never once does this brilliant girl consider that she will not reach her goals — not even when the reality of a time in America when homosexuality was still a widely punishable offense sets in.
She just keeps going, reaching, working to fulfill her own dreams, convention be damned.
Rubyfruit Jungle deserves a place on the shelves of the classics, and not just with LGBT literature. This is the kind of story that will stand up next to assigned reading lists and banned book lists alike. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a strong, female protagonist and a more realistic look at life in ’50s and ’60s America. Five of five stars!
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