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Monday, 8 June 2015

Book Review: Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

First published in 1973, Rubyfruit Jungle is a bawdy romp through one woman's childhood, adolescence and early adulthood as she explores her sexuality and tries to find her place in America without making any compromises. Molly Bolt is the adoptive daughter of a poor couple, a disappointment to her mother, and aware of her sexuality from an early age. This leads to problem after problem but Molly refuses to fit into any mould - she doesn't want a relationship or to settle down, she just wants to get on with her life.

I had mixed feelings about this one. I probably wouldn't have read it if it hadn't been for the reading group I'm a part of and Molly's philosophy isn't really one I'd ever subscribe to. As a critique of contemporary views it works quite well with homophobia and attitudes towards sexuality in general thoroughly examined. However, I did start to lose track of who everyone was as Molly flitted from one relationship to the next. In that sense it's a very episodic narrative, though I appreciated the loop around at the end that grounded me a little more as a reader.

It's an easy read that whooshes along quite rapidly. It's also evocative, particularly the childhood sections before Molly's conquests started to blur for me. While I doubt I'll be rereading it, I'm at least glad I came across it and thanks to my reading group for that.

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