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Mama Ruby (A Mama Ruby Novel) Hardcover – June 1, 2011
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About the Author
Mary Monroe, the daughter of sharecroppers, is the author of the award-winning and New York Times bestselling God series that includes God Don't Like Ugly and God Don't Make No Mistakes, among other novels. Winner of the AAMBC Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award, Mary Monroe currently lives in Oakland, California, and loves to hear from her readers via e-mail at AuthorAuthor5409@aol.com. Visit Mary's website at MaryMonroe.org.
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If you've read "The Upper Room", you already know all about plain, stout "Mama" Ruby Jean Montgomery and beautiful light-skinned Othella. In this book we travel back in time to Ruby's childhood in Shreveport, Louisiana. Ruby us the 7th daughter of a 7th daughter. She has 6 older sisters and her daddy, Reverend Upshaw and mother are as strict as they come. From a young age Ruby Jean has been exposed to sex and beer and knows way too much, thanks to her sisters. Ruby plays the role of smart and sweet little church girl, but what her parents don't know is that Ruby parties and has sex. Ruby also hangs with "worldly" folks like Othella, the bi-racial daughter of a Creole prostitute mother named Simone. Ruby sneaks out of her window and does all kinds of things that would have Reverend Upshaw kill her dead, if he knew!! Ruby has a secret pregnancy and gives birth at Simone and Othella's house on the 4th of July, Othella's birthday! Othella and Simone talk Ruby into giving up her daughter to "nuns at an asylum", so Reverend Upshaw won't kill Ruby dead!!
After Ruby has her precious daughter and she is taken from her, Ruby and Othella at age 15 flee to New Orleans looking for husbands and then their lives really get interesting! In New Orleans we meet an assortment of strange folks that Othella and Ruby tango with: Glenn Boates who is "half" a man, Miss Mo'reen and her whorehouse folks: Cat Fish,Fat Fanny, Mazel & Wally Yoakum. The carnival folks and finally Eugene and Roy. All along we watch as two young misguiding teens try to find their way. Mama Ruby and Othella are like an old school Thelma and Louise who get into all kinds of trouble! Through it all they are friends and have each other's backs until that fateful night....
This book is a must read for all who have read the "Upper Room" and even if you have not, read this book (then read the Upper Room)!! You will not be disappointed!
Mary Monroe stated that readers wanted to learn the story of how Mama Ruby became who she is. I for one was never interested in that story. I was completely and totally happy with the Upper Room no prequel was necessary. In fact, it was in my opinion it was completely unnecessary.
Let me begin by saying, Mama Ruby has some "over-the-top" scenes and Ms. Monroe's delivery is raw and direct. With that said, even though some passages are not for the "faint at heart" she draws the reader into the period and you feel as if you are sitting there watching the characters as the story unfolded.
Initially, I wanted to put the book down because the story line was so graphic, but she won me over with Ruby's "sassy" persona and "militant" attitude with regards to civil and human rights in general.
I have not read "The Upper Room" but plan to suggest to my book club that this be our book selection for February.
"Kudos" to Ms. Monroe, you have again captivated this reader.
At times, this book moved slowly and I kinda of wanted to push the story along. The author made me feel like I was right there with the characters and that's what kept my attention.