Rubyfruit Jungle is Rita Mae Brown’s first work and Molly Bolt is easily her most exuberant character. Molly learns two valuable lessons as an enterprising seven-year-old capitalist. Society prefers its sex-related industries to be nonprofit, and the children of sexual transgressors suffer in equal measure with their progenitors. As the adopted offspring of a sexual outlaw, Molly is expected to express obsequious gratitude for any crumbs of approval that fall her way.
Molly, however, accepts nothing on sufferance, meeting disapproval with confrontation rather than acquiescence. Unfortunately, each victory over the intolerance or prejudice makes her need for approval from the people she vanquishes all the stronger. Molly can never truly please anyone, particularly her mother, and her father’s death deprives her of the only reliable source of emotional support.
Still, Molly continues to pursue an independent course. Once pubescent sexuality makes its appearance, Molly discovers she prefers women to men. For some, that realization would be devastating, for Molly it is a matter of little concern. Love, in Molly’s world, is love and thus to be cherished, irrespective of the gender. Molly is not given to categorization or recognizing the validity of roles assigned by society and tradition, a circumstance which bodes ill for a Florida resident in 1960.
Faced with a society organized and delineated by the need of one race to...
(The entire section is 409 words.)