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My First Trip to ‘Rubyfruit Jungle’

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Molly Bolt may not be as renowned as Holden Caulfield, but to those who know her name, she is as much (if not more) of a literary hero.

The precocious and fearless protagonist of Rita Mae Brown’s 1973 novel “Rubyfruit Jungle” has served as a model of possibility for generations of young women, lesbians and outsiders of all kinds.

Published by a small feminist press 50 years ago, the book became a crossover best seller when Bantam Books reissued it four years later, despite (and because of) its blatant sexual politics and embrace of queerness.

With its erotic title and suggestive cover, the book became a secret for some readers to indulge privately, an experience which has shifted in the half-century it has been in print.

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