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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 17 July 2001
This is a fantastic piece; it's kind of an American "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" meets "The Catcher in the Rye". Set in the second half of the twentieth century, it's the tale of a young girl growing up in the South of the USA, and dreaming of moving away to the big city. The story is great, and it's brilliantly written - funny, moving, literate - I couldn't put it down. If you are a lesbian, read it immediately and memorise the best bits to cheer you up when you need it. Put it on your shelf next to something by Jeanette Winterson or Sarah Waters. If you are not, read it anyway. I promise you'll love it.
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In Educating Rita, Rita is so enraptured by this book that she changes her name from Susan to Rita. I can see why she did so. It is a voyage of self-discovery for Molly Bolt and she is thwarted at every turn. You laugh and cry with her. The injustices she faces are hard rendering and the novel is written so beautifully that you feel what Molly feels. It shows how backward and prejudiced people can be, and the scary thing is, views haven't changed that much. I couldn't put it down. It was brilliant.
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VINE VOICEon 2 December 2001
One of the greatest stories about growing up gay ever written. Molly Bolt is the determined, wisecracking and sometimes outrageous heroine, an outcast who makes her move from small town USA and discovers the delights of city life.
I agree heartily with the reviewer from London, this is a book about lesbian life that anybody should love.
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on 8 January 2001
A real woman's novel. Molly is strong petulant and at times down right obnoxious. She's got to be one of my favourite literary heroes. Fighting the social mistreatment of women in her own way, Molly experiences the 'Lesbian Scene' of the sixties and is accused of 'moral turptitude' (for this read lesbianism) because she dared to play men at their own game in the male dominated sixties. I don't think this about oppression or prejudice so much as freedom. Molly took hers when she had such potential to stay downtrodden and then she defended it because it was hers and no one else was going to have it. The prejudice isn't an issue, so much as a reflection of the times. I was inspired to read this because of Educating Rita. Any book that makes someone change their name is worth reading, and this book definitely is. It also quelled my curiousity about what The Ruby Fruit Jungle is....and I have to say that this is the only disappointing part of the whole book.
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on 27 December 2013
Rita Mae West's controversial novel detailing the `fictional' Molly Bolt's sexual awakening and consequent blitz through various institutions and lovers, remains potent stuff, although in today's climate of civil partnerships, gay pride, and wholesale acceptance of homosexuality throughout Western culture, it has lost much of its power to shock. The book's real charm however, is its depiction of a devil-may-care heroine, persistently thumbing her nose at society, and insisting on independence and parity on her own terms - surely a great mandate for how we should all aim to live our lives?
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on 19 September 2014
A great story written by an amazingly talented writer. If you read this from a LGBT point of thinking, you will be cheering our heroine on. If you read it from a totally straight point of view, you will come away a wiser and happier reader.
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on 11 April 2000
I really loved this book. I read it quicker and enjoyed it more than any book I'd read in ages. I love the style that Ms. Brown wote it in. Whilst Molly uses people for her own advantage it doesn't come across that Molly is purposely using them although she is. I think the book was written to offend non lesbian people but as I read it I saw it was more written to shock if anything. It is set in the sixties when a woman was just a woman and still hadn't got the equal rights thing sorted. Molly did stuff that was ahead of her time and I admired her for that. The other characters in the book were strong likeable characters and not just there like they are in some books. I was a little disappointed with the ending of the book because although Molly realized her dream career she wasn't having her full potential recognised with her job as a secretary.
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on 28 November 2013
Second-hand version bought on a wim as it was the only book Rita had read in the BBC's afternoon theatre's wonderful production of ''Educating Rita''. Was delighted to only pay 1p for it.....have only just started reading...thank you for speedy delivery and my copy of a book which is in good nic and is transporting me to another world...just as it did for Rita !!
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on 20 May 2010
This is a dramatic coming-of-age story with a feisty inspiring protagonist. She is very easy to relate to and identify with, yet her story was also different enough from my own to make it a bit of an adventure novel! This is an utterly engaging, very funny and very human novel that I'd recommend to anyone who loves gripping gutsy stories.
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on 18 June 2016
Pleasantly surprised by this book. The first three quarters of the book held my attention well, but the end became a little predictable. Worth the read.
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