Review by: Laura Roewe
Let me start off with a warning: Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown is rated R – not school appropriate at all. Overall, the book presents multiple social problems and the main character’s actions to overcome them; however, these social problems, while important to introduce at a young age, are not presented in a format for anyone below a high school age to read. In some cases, not even a high school age is adequate to read this book. All in all, it depends on the maturity level of the person reading to decide if they should continue or not.
Warning aside, Rubyfruit Jungle is a fantastic book that I would recommend to anyone who is mature enough to read it for the morals. Following the life of young Molly Bolt, the reader joins her as she grows up a strong-willed, feminist lesbian in America. She begins her legacy in a small southern town of Pennsylvania and later moves with her family to Florida. However, college and dreams of becoming an independent film director lead her to move to New York. Watch as she tears stereotypical gender roles to the ground and does what she wants despite the pressures that society places on her. This quick-paced novel is a must read for anyone who finds strong female leads important.
Rubyfruit Jungle forces many of the issues that girls see today into the limelight and presents the reader with something to think about as they follow Molly’s journey. While it is possible to read this book without assessing the social norms imposed on women and lesbians, it would lose much of its value. Throughout the story, issues on gender roles, female employment, sexuality, sexual harassment, and even homophobia are addressed. However, what would seem to be a stuffy social justice essay, is actually a witty and interesting read. The book is often laced with humor and story plot that will keep most readers interested.
However, like all books, there are a few downfalls to this story that could be improved. The dialogue often seems unlikely and does not flow as well as a normal conversation would. As a main character Molly has no fatal flaw…or a flaw at all – she seems superhuman in her ability to always one up her opponent. Also, in terms of lesbianism, the book casts those who are described as butch in a negative perspective. The main downfall, however, is the excessive amounts of detailed sexual activities describe throughout the book – the main reason this title is rated R.
As it has already been pointed out this book is rated R. This decision is based on the multiple accounts of explicit sexual content and constantly vulgar language. Overall, I would give this book three and a half stars. The social issues addressed were fantastic and the humor had me laughing more often than not. Sadly, I cannot look past all the sexual scenes. I do not recommend Rubyfruit Jungle to anyone who is not mature enough to look past the sexual choices of Molly.