Rubyfruit Jungle

( 28 )

Overview

Rubyfruit Jungle is the first milestone novel in the extraordinary career of one of this country's most distinctive writers. Bawdy and moving, the ultimate word-of-mouth bestseller, Rubyfruit Jungle is about growing up a lesbian in America – and living happily ever after.

Born a bastard, Molly Bolt is adopted by a dirt-poor Southern couple who want something better for their daughter. Molly plays doctor with the boys, beats up Leroy the tub and...

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Rubyfruit Jungle

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Overview

Rubyfruit Jungle is the first milestone novel in the extraordinary career of one of this country's most distinctive writers. Bawdy and moving, the ultimate word-of-mouth bestseller, Rubyfruit Jungle is about growing up a lesbian in America – and living happily ever after.

Born a bastard, Molly Bolt is adopted by a dirt-poor Southern couple who want something better for their daughter. Molly plays doctor with the boys, beats up Leroy the tub and loses her virginity to her girlfriend in sixth grade.

As she grows to realize she's different, Molly decides not to apologize for that. In no time she mesmerizes the head cheerleader of Ft. Lauderdale High and captivates a gorgeous bourbon-guzzling heiress.

But the world is not tolerant. Booted out of college for moral turpitude, an unrepentant, penniless Molly takes New York by storm, sending not a few female hearts aflutter with her startling beauty, crackling wit and fierce determination to become the greatest filmmaker that ever lived.

Critically acclaimed when first published, Rubyfruit Jungle has only grown in reputation as it has reached new generations of readers who respond to its feisty and inspiring heroine.

Bawdy and moving, Brown's tale of the unsinkable Molly Bolt is about growing up a lesbian in America--and living happily ever after. "A truly incredible book."--The Boston Globe. Reissue.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I found myself laughing hysterically, then sobbing uncontrollably just moments later. A powerful story ... A truly incredible book."
The Boston Globe

"Molly Bolt is a genuine descendant — genuine female descendant — of Huckleberry Finn. And Rita Mae Brown is, like Mark Twain, a serious writer who gets her messages across through laughter."
— Donna E. Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services

The Boston Globe
"I found myself laughing hysterically, then sobbing uncontrollably just moments later. A powerful story... A truly incredible book."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553278866
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1983
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 125,334
  • Product dimensions: 4.17 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Rita Mae Brown is the bestselling author of In Her Day, Six of One, Southern Discomfort, Sudden Death, High Hearts, Bingo,, Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of Writers' Manual, Venus Envy, Dolley: A Novel of Dolley Madison in Love and War, Riding Shotgun, Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser, Loose Lips and Outfoxed. She is co-author along with Sneaky Pie Brown of Wish You Were Here; Rest in Pieces; Murder at Monticello; Pay Dirt; Murder, She Meowed; Murder on the Prowl; and Claws and Effect. Rita Mae Brown is an Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet. She lives near Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Read an Excerpt

No one remembers her beginnings. Mothers and aunts tell us about infancy and early childhood, hoping we won't forget the past when they had total control over our lives and secretly praying that because of it, we'll include them in our future.

I didn't know anything about my own beginnings until I was seven years old, living in Coffee Hollow, a rural dot outside of York, Pennsylvania. A dirt road connected tarpapered houses filled with smear-faced kids and the air was always thick with the smell of coffee beans freshly ground in the small shop that gave the place its name. One of those smear-faced kids was Brockhurst Detwiler, Broccoli for short. It was through him that I learned I was a bastard. Broccoli didn't know I was a bastard but he and I struck a bargain that cost me my ignorance.

One crisp September day Broccoli and I were on our way home from Violet Hill Elementary School.

"Hey, Molly, I gotta take a leak, wanna see me?.

"Sure, Broc."

He stepped behind the bushes and pulled down his zipper with a flourish.

"Broccoli, what's all that skin hanging around your dick?"

"My mom says I haven't had it cut up yet."

"Whaddaya mean, cut up?"

"She says that some people get this operation and the skin comes off and it has somethin' to do with Jesus."

"Well, I'm glad no one's gonna cut up on me."

"That's what you think. My Aunt Louise got her tit cut off."

"I ain't got tits."

"You will. You'll get big floppy ones just like my mom. They hang down below her waist and wobble when she walks."

"Not me, I ain't gonna look like that."

"Oh yes you are. All girls look like that."

"You shut up or I'll knock your lips down your throat, Broccoli Detwiler."

"I'll shut up if you don't tel1 anyone I showed you my thing."

"What's there to tell? All you got is a wad of pink wrinkles hangin' around it. It's ugly."

"It is not ugly."

"Ha. It looks awful. You think it's not ugly because it's yours. No one else has a dick like that. My cousin Leroy, Ted, no one. I bet you got the only one in the world. We oughta make some money off it."

"Money? How we gonna make money off my dick?"

"After school we can take the kids back here and show you off, and we charge a nickel a piece."

"No. I ain't showing people my thing if they're gonna laugh at it."

"Look, Broc, money is money. What do you care if they laugh? You'll have money then you can laugh at them. And we split it fifty-fifty."

The next day during recess I spread the news. Broccoli was keeping his mouth shut. I was afraid he'd chicken out but he came through. After school about eleven of us hurried out to the woods between school and the coffee shop and there Broc revealed himself. He was a big hit. Most of the girls had never even seen a regular dick and Broccoli's was so disgusting they shrieked with pleasure. Broc looked a little green around the edges, but he bravely kept it hanging out until everyone had a good look. We were fifty-five cents richer.

Word spread through the other grades, and for about a week after that, Broccoli and I had a thriving business. I bought red licorice and handed it out to all my friends. Money was power. The more red licorice you had, the more friends you had. Leroy, my cousin, tried to horn in on the business by showing himself off, but he flopped because he didn't have skin on him. To make him feel better, I gave him fifteen cents out of every day's earnings.

Nancy Cahill came every day after school to look at Broccoli, billed as the "strangest dick in the world." Once she waited until everyone else had left. Nancy was all freckles and rosary beads. She giggled every time she saw Broccoli and on that day she asked if she could touch him. Broccoli stupidly said yes. Nancy grabbed him and gave a squeal.

"Okay, okay, Nancy, that's enough. You might wear him out and we have other customers to satisfy." That took the wind out of her and she went home. "Look, Broccoli, what's the big idea of letting Nancy touch you for free? That ought to be worth at least a dime. We oughta let kids do it for a dime and Nancy can play for free when everyone goes home if you want her to."

"Deal."

This new twist drew half the school into the woods. Everything was fine until Earl Stambach ratted on us to Miss Martin, the teacher. Miss Martin contacted Carrie and Broccoli's mother and it was all over.

When I got home that night I didn't even get through the door when Carrie yells, "Molly, come in here right this minute." The tone in her voice told me I was up for getting strapped.

"I'm coming, Mom."

"What's this I hear about you out in the woods playing with Brockhurst Detwiler's peter? Don't lie to me now, Earl told Miss Martin you're out there every night."

"Not me, Mom, I never played with him." Which was true.

"Don't lie to me, you big-mouthed brat. I know you were out there jerking that dimwit off. And in front of all the other brats in the Hollow."

"No, Mom, honest, I didn't do that." There was no use telling her what I really did. She wouldn't have believed me. Carrie assumed all children lied.

"You shamed me in front of all the neighbors, and I've got a good mind to throw you outa this house. You and your high and mighty ways, sailing in the house and out the house as you damn well please. You reading them books and puttin' on airs. You're a fine one to be snotty. Miss Ups, out there in the woods playing with his old dong. Well, I got news for you, you little shitass, you think you're so smart. You ain't so fine as you think you are, and you ain't mine neither. And I don't want you now that I know what you're about. Wanna know who you are, smartypants? You're Ruby Drollinger's bastard, that's who you are. Now let's see you put your nose in the air."

"Who's Ruby Drollinger?"

"Your real mother, that's who and she was a slut, you hear me, Miss Molly? A common, dirty slut who'd lay with a dog if it shook its ass right."

"I don't care. It makes no difference where I came from. I'm here, ain't I?"

"It makes all the difference in the world. Them that's born in wedlock are blessed by the Lord. Them that's born out of wedlock are cursed as bastards. So there."

"I don't care."

"Well, you oughta care, you horse's ass. Just see how far all your pretty ways and books get you when you go out and people find out you're a bastard. And you act like one Blood's thicker than water and yours tells. Bullheaded like Ruby and out there in the woods jerking off that Detwiler idiot. Bastard!"

Carrie was red in the face and her veins were popping out of her neck. She looked like a one-woman horror movie and she was thumping the table and thumping me. She grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me like a dog shakes a rag doll. "Snot-nosed, bitch of a bastard. Living in my house, under my roof. You'd be dead in that orphanage if I hadn't gotten you out and nursed you round the clock. You come here and eat the food, keep me runnin' after you and then go out and shame me. You better straighten up, girl, or I'11 throw you back where you came from — the gutter.

"Take your hands off me. If you ain't my real mother then you just take your goddamned hands off me." I ran out the door and tore all the way over the wheat fields up to the woods. The sun had gone down, and there was one finger of rose left in the sky.

So what, so what I'm a bastard. I don't care. She's trying to scare me. She's always trying to throw some fear in me. The hell with her and the hell with anyone else if it makes a difference to them. Goddamn Broccoli Detwiler and his ugly dick anyway. He got me in this mess and just when we're making money this has to happen. I'm gonna get Earl Stambach and lay him out to whaleshit if it's the last thing I do. Yeah, then Mom wil1 rip me for that. I wonder who else knows I'm a bastard. I bet Mouth knows and if Florence the Megaphone Mouth knows, the whole world knows. I bet they're all sittin' on it like hens. Well, I ain't going back into that house for them to laugh at me and look at me like I'm a freak. I'm staying out here in these woods and I'm gonna kill Earl. Shit, I wonder if ole Broc got it. He'll tel1 I put him up to it and skin out. Coward. Anyone with a dick like that's gotta be chickenshit anyway. I wonder if any of the kids know. I can face Mouth and Mom but not the gang. Well, if it makes a difference to them, the hell with them, too. I can't see why it's such a big deal. Who cares how you get here? I don't care. I really don't care. I got myself born, that's what counts. I'm here. Boy, ole Mom was really roaring, she was ripped, just ripped. I'm not going back there. I'm not going back to where it makes a difference and she'll throw it in my face from now on out. Look how she throws in my face how I kicked Grandma Bolt's shins when I was five. I'm staying in these woods. I can live off nuts and berries, except I don't like berries, they got ticks on them. I can just live off nuts, I guess. Maybe kill rabbits, yeah, but Ted told me rabbits are full of worms. Worms, yuk, I'm not eating worms. I'll stay out here in these woods and starve, that's what I'll do. Then Mom will feel sorry about how she yelled at me and made a big deal out of the way I was born. And calling my real mother a slut — I wonder what my real mother looks like. Maybe I look like someone. I don't look like anyone in our house, none of the Bolts nor Wiegenlieds, none of them. They all have extra white skin and gray eyes. German, they're all German. And don't Carrie make noise about that. How anyone else is bad, Wops and Jews and the rest of the entire world. That's why she hates me. I bet my mother wasn't German. My mother couldn't have cared about me very much if she left me with Carrie. Did I do something wrong way back then? Why would she leave me like that? Now, maybe now she could leave me after showing off Broccoli's dick but when I was a little baby how could I have done anything wrong? I wish I'd never heard any of this. I wish Carrie Bolt would drop down dead. That's exactly what I wish. I'm not going back there.

Night drew around the woods and little unseen animals burrowed in the dark. There was no moon. The black filled my nostrils and the air was full of little noises, weird sounds. A chill came up off the old fishpond down by the pine trees. I couldn't find any nuts either, it was too dark. All I found was a spider's nest. The spider's nest did it. I decided to go back to the house but only until I was old enough to get a job so I could leave that dump. Stumbling, I felt my way home and opened the torn screen door. No one was waiting up for me. They'd all gone to bed.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

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(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good.

    I liked this book, it wasn't the best I ever read, but it's story was entertaining and moved along at a good pace. The charcters were interesting and full of depth. I disagree this is only for over 35, I'm 20 years under that mark, and I was able to enjoy it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2009

    An amazing, funny novel, nothing I expected. Steers away from butch&femme thank goodness.

    At first I was scared that this book would scare me off, as I hate reading books where plots take place in the 50s-60s. All I can imagine are bad hair do's, ancient clothes, and just plain boredom. It didn't help either that this book was published 15 years before I was born. But as I read the first few pages, I found myself laughing out loud at my local B&N. Even though some of the years were mentioned, with the aid of the hilarious sarcastic humor Rita Mae Brown expresses through her characters, it did not phase my interests, and it was easy to imagine everything took place in recent years. I read earlier reviews, and I disagree with some. I'm only 20 and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is NOT one for only 35+. Also, those who are looking for a book about beautiful feminine lesbians together that actually has humor and laughs, and not the sterotypical butch and femme love stories that are serious and always end up sad or all about sex, this is the one for you. I've spent forever to find one! This was my first time FINISHING a lesbian fiction, and my first time reading a Rita Mae Brown novel She definitely did not disappoint!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    Very good book

    I brought this book, because it was part of a reading assignment for my class. I really enjoyed this book, it made me laugh and cry. Very good and powerful story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2006

    disappointing

    i bought this book because it is always talked about as one of the best lesbian novels ever. i'm sorry to say i found it to be boring and average. for me, it did not stand out as a great book at all. maybe i have a short attention span. all i know is that i would not recommend this book to anyone under 35.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2005

    Awesome

    Hilarious and insightful! This book will keep you holding on; the lead character is absolutely amazing. I love it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2005

    loved it!

    It was the first lesbian book I read. then I went and bought more of her books. I could have read more. I didn't want to put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2004

    The best book ever!!!!!!!!!!

    When I started to read this book I thought it was dull. The she came more a live. I could not stop reading it. I don't read books unless I have to for school but my step mom wanted me to and I could not put it down. I came out last year I was 16 years old. Some people have been real nice I get looks sometimes but I don't care I am who I am. My mom did not like it one bit she said I was going to hell. but I don't care what she says I know she still loves me and thats all that matters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2003

    I love the character of Molly Bolt!

    I finished this book in a day, it was so good. I have read many books and I have to say I enjoyed this book so much, I didn't want it to end. I could have read 400 more pages easily. The character of Molly Bolt is definitely one of my favorite fictional characters that I've had the pleasure of reading about. I related to her in many different ways. She is the kind of girl that I find fascinating. Rita Mae Brown is a tremendous talent and I absolutely loved this book. Anyone who hasn't read it, definitely needs to read this book. And I will definitely be reading more of Brown's work. Great Book! Couldn't put it down, each page was beyond exciting and entertaining. Very relatable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2003

    A Must Read!!!!! -Dont judge a book by its cover

    When I first saw the cover of the book I did not expect much; but I must admit that the author blew me away. When you read the book you feel like you are apart of the story; you almost feel like the charecters are talking to you. A great peice of literature!! I only wish that ohers wrote books like this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2002

    Terrific

    This is a coming of age novel that stands above the rest! it doens't follow the usual formula and instead pulls the reader in with wit and a great main character.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2001

    lover of fine reading

    I dont have much to say but I think I should at least say that this book was great even on the second read. I usually read books twice and then on to the next book. But I think on this on I will have to read this one again it was so interesting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2001

    A thought

    I was never really one to willingly read anything on my own but when I came here and read a little about this book I was hooked. When I got it I couldn't put it down. I am a writer and I can attribute some of my greatest inspirations to this book. It also helped me to understand my first love and why she did some of the things she did. I felt for the people in this book because I began to see them as real representations of people in my life. You will dread finding the last page. I don't know if there is a sequel but I hope there is or that she is thinking of writing one soon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2000

    Queen of it all

    I have read other books as an adolescent identity searching, including: The Revolution of Little Girls, Am I Blue?, Annie on My Mind, and Terminal Velocity, but this one is the premiere of identity fiction. This is the climactic book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2000

    One of the Realist Stories I Have Ever Read

    This is one of the best books out there. The way that Ria Mae Brown writes is absolutely amazing. The story is so real. It's not like one of those stupid books where best friends kiss once, and then spend the rest of the book trying to figure out if they are gay, and they leave each other. No, it's a fasnicating story about a young woman who doesn't give a damn about what anyone else thinks, which is a wonderful quality. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read an inspiring book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2000

    Rubyfruit is real, raw, and righteous.

    I was pleasantly surprised by Brown's literary style and the overall content of this book. It allowed me to get in touch with myself and to better relate to those around me. I simply fell in love with the main character, in spite of herself.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2000

    A Story Worth Reading

    This is a wonderful book for coming of age gay teenagers. This story revolves around a determined and couragous girl that wants to break the barriers that restrict women and the gay society from being heard. Molly, the main character, is very strongwilled from the beginning as a young child in a male-dominated town/society, to the end. She provides the reader to exam their judgements on gay women in society. Molly, throughout the book, sticks to her position of where she is in society and her life up till the end of the book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 1999

    Amazingly written

    Not exactly the best of Rita but still powerful nevertheless.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews

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