Time for Book Club! Rubyfruit Jungle, by Rita Mae Brown

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As with all book clubs, a great part of the joy of our Imaginary Book Club is reading together and chatting about what we’ve read as a group. For more info on how our online book club work, and the many ways you can participate, hop over here or sign up to read with us.

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Rubyfruit Jungle, by Rita Mae Brown

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.

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1 Comment

  1. Sorry, sorry – I’m a bit late to the party (can I blame jet lag, haha!), but I was so glad when #readwithIBC picked Rubyfruit Jungle! I’ve always, always wanted to read it. Woah, this was an intense but great book!! Unique pick for pride too – It’s a really thick, delicious and rich slice of life about a specific time, place, and person. Molly is such a vivid and detailed person — with her own mantra about sexuality and

    Big picture: What I really like about this book — and reading it in today’s context — is thinking about how LGBTQ+ experience isn’t universal and homogeneous, even though it’s homosexual (haha!). And why, as she writes, “this bloc of voters” doesn’t tell you much about the human beings and the complexities of their lives, loves, and identities wrapped up in it (https://www.bustle.com/articles/87124-9-reasons-rubyfruit-jungle-is-just-as-important-now-as-it-was-the-day-it-was).

    While materially and legally LGBTQ+ lives are better now (well, fingers crossed it still is in the US), academic and historical texts have looked at how the meaning of who and what gay people are have changed over human history. I’d recommend for non-fiction peeps – The Gay Revolution and Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers by Lillian Faderman. Faderman also talks about the pressures and performances of the butch/femme dynamic that Molly in the book learns about and eschews. This is a TOTALLY real, emergent. reproduction of heterosexuality WHILE subverting it. Some women would start the night off as femmes, but in case the proportions of b/f were not in their favor at the club or they hadn’t scored yet and wanted to be more aggressive, they’d change into butch clothes in the car and switch underground clubs/parties. Sometimes they’d even walk back into the SAME bar!!

    Btw, poor Molly — so many deeply closeted and weird “straight” women as lovers!! Q: Who was your least favorite lover of Molly? For me, it’s tied for her poor, self-hating and experimenting cousin Leroy and Polina.

    Q: Not much of an ending for me. I want an unauthorized sequel! Will Molly reunite with Faye? Or go out to SF and find Calvin? What is her first movie? Is Carrie OK?

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  1. BOOK CLUB BRUNCH – CHAPTER 49 | Imaginary Book Club - […] month was crazy, so I’m totally behind on reading Rubyfruit Jungle, but I read Everything I Never Told You…

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