In Mary Monroe's novel, The Upper Room, Mama Ruby dominates as the central character that is so religious, malicious, and comical. She and her supporting cast are so drama-filled that their dysfunctional lives provide the reader with a page-turning/must-keep-reading tale. Mama Ruby is an obese, misguided crazed, crucifix wearing, switchblade carrying, self-professed "Christian" woman with healing hands that manipulates and controls everyone around her. She betrays her closest friend in the world, Othella, by taking Othella's once-thought stillborn daughter, Maureen, and raises her as her own. She sequesters the child in a sanctified "Upper Room" that has restrictions on who can enter it and vows that Maureen will never leave her. The story includes a colorful cast of characters and takes us through Maureen's life with the townsfolk of Goons, FL and her desires and eventual escape into the sanity of the "real world". Along the way, there are many 'episodes' that keep the plot flowing till the end. This review does not give the novel enough praise. The author provided vivid imagery, dialogue, and solid pacing to make this an enjoyable, suspenseful read.