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The Upper Room (A Mama Ruby Novel) Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2011
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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"Warm, energetic, and charming." --The Houston Post
Mama Ruby's known for taking things that aren't rightfully hers, like her best friend's stillborn infant, who she brought back to life and christened Maureen. She's also rumored to have done away with her husband. Some fear her, others try their best to avoid her. But Mama Ruby doesn't pay them any mind. Not when she's got the one gift God gave her--her precious baby girl.
"Monroe's literary canvas is painted with verve and humor and passion." --Christian Science Monitor
But growing up with a mama like Ruby is enough to make any half-sane girl wish for something--anything--else. And when Maureen gets the chance to explore the "real" world, you can bet she's going to take it. . .and run like hell.
"There is an electricity and vitality to this novel that makes it unique. Mary Monroe is a remarkable talent." --Chicago Sun-Times
"Supremely rich in language and blessed with genuine originality." --Financial Times
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The premise was interesting and the first page starts you off right in the thick of things which was great...at first. Then the book just takes on a lot of fantastical elements (for instance Mama Ruby has killed and buried at least 50 people and never been caught, Mama Ruby rips a man's arm out the socket, Mama Ruby puts her hands on a stillborn baby and it comes back to life after being dead for 1 - 2 hours, Mama Ruby gets shot point blank and still continues to charge then a few days later has "gas" and digs a bullet out her flesh, etc. I also don't understand how someone that's over 350lbs of fat, not muscle, with flat feet and high blood pressure and described as wheezing when she walks, is able to get around so well and fight men).
I like magical realism (like Octavia Butler's "Kindred") but this book just didn't work for me.
It just seemed like a lot of random events, too many characters to keep straight and at some points I found myself wondering, "What is the point of this story? Yes, it's entertaining, but why did the author write this book?" The book reminds me a little of watching the Jerry Springer show...lots of cursing, fighting, bloodshed and ignorance, just for the sake of violence/entertainment.
I've seen many authors make crazy characters likable but I found Mama Ruby more annoying then anything. To me Maureen was just as bad...she didn't seem to have much depth.
Also I really had a hard time with some of the dialect the characters used. I understand they are from the South, but it was hard to understand. There were several instances I found myself having to read a word aloud several times to understand it. I also didn't like how the characters were constantly using racial slurs, especially the n-word.
Again, I understand it's the South and in the old days. But even when the Black folks were talking amongst themselves it was "That <n-word> this" and "that <n-word>" that". At one point a police office is asking Mama Ruby if he's seen a <n-word>. Mama Ruby also constantly says Othella is "smart like white folks", refers to Jews and Asians in negative ways and often accuses men or molesting or raping her.
Only because GDLU was so good will I not give up on Ms. Monroe
Inclusive of a great cast of characters moved by great bodies of rich autistic dialogue, it didn't take long to take a genuine liking to this steep story entrenched in gripping persuasive writing. Virgil, Hattie, Slim, Fast Black, Mo'reen, and of course Mama Ruby, I couldn't get enough of. I cried laughing throughout. Between `the Lord,' `the Holy Ghost,' and `the devil,' I couldn't make heads or tails out which spirit moved the characters, (or me), more. But God bless that child Mo'reen, it had to be her role that kept the story moving, and me rocking on my sides every time she spoke. I thought if someone `axed' her another question; or she said another thing, I would for sure lose a spleen, in which case this was the other thing. There really is a devilishly deep mystery working around this `cagy' upper room.
This has to be one of the best, if not the best novel I ever read. Over the top fabulously well-written! A highly recommended Must Read.
Moral: Taking a child away from a mother at birth can cause mental instability, and have "fatal" repercussions.
I laughed, cried, and gasped throughout this novel
I just came up with a verb..."RUN and get this novel; you will not forget it!!"