In this stirring prequel, New York Times best-selling author Mary Monroe returns to the “cold-blooded yet fascinating” (Publishers Weekly) character from her acclaimed novel The Upper Room. Ruby is a wild youth, with a thirst for boys and booze by the age of 15. When she discovers she’s pregnant, the only person she can confide in is her best friend Othella. But Othella talks Ruby into giving up the child, leaving Ruby emotionally shattered and adamant that Othella is to blame for her loss.
©2011 Mary Monroe (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC
After reading the first book "The Upper Room" I was very excited when this book came out!!
I was even excited that the same reader Kevin Free was narrator.
While the Upper room was over the top with the story...it included humor and suspense. This book was to tell the story of Ruby from a child to young womanhood. It was way to much sex and violence. Yes, the first book had the same but, the story was better told. This one seemed thrown together and offered no sympathy for the characters.
The reader did the best he could with what he had...
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
Othella and Ruby grew up not too far away from one another. Othella's mother was a prostitute and Ruby's father was a preacher and her mother was a housewife and mother.
Ruby had been told over and over not to associate with Othella. She had never disobeyed her father before but Ruby became tired of the restrictions. Ruby was the youngest of seven girl's. She had heard about a birthday being given on July 4th for Othella. All of her older sister's were married and not longer lived at home. Therefore, on the night of July 4th, Ruby sneaked out of her bedroom window and went to Othell's party after she was sure that her parent's were sleeping.
Ruby had entered a whole new world. Othella's mother had not set any rules pertaining to her children. Ruby, at 15, found that she enjoyed being over at Othella's house. She learned to enjoy the taste of beer. Ruby had never had sexual intercourse but had her first experience with Othello's brother.
Ruby drank beer and had sex with many boys after that first night. Eventually, Ruby became pregnant and hid the pregnancy from everyone. She continued to drink and engage in sexual activity, until the birth of her baby girl, born the following year on July 4th. Othella and Simone, Othella's mother, pressured Ruby until she finally conceded to give her baby girl away to an "asylum," run by the nuns. Ruby never forgave her best friend, Othella.
The time of these occurrences began to occur prior to the start of WWII. Ruby and Othella were black and the laws of segregation were strictly enforced.
Ruby and Othella left home and went to live in New Orleans, not too far from their home. However, being black became quite a challenge for the two young teens to overcome. Events occurred that forced Ruby and Othella to move to Florida. Both of them sure hoped that their past stayed in New Orleans.
Eventually the girls ended up living in a brothel, run by Maureen, a white woman. Ruby and Othella were the first black girl's to live at the brothel. The other black worker's lived elsewhere.
Othella became a prostitute, following in her mother's footsteps. This fact truly upset Ruby but there was no other work to be found in New Orleans and she did not want to go back home.
Ruby wasn't as slim and as pretty as Othella. Therefore, Maureen worked as cook and took care of another white prostitute's three children. The boys were 8 and 9 but there was also a baby girl. Ruby showered her love on the baby girl and kept the two boys in line.
The language and words used through out the book were crude. That's the best word I can think of to describe the way the characters talked. The segregation that occurred during this era was very descriptive and true. Survival was the intent and struggle that these young girl's faced, having left home at such a young age. Othella always wrote to her mother but Ruby never did. Othella would always include a few lines about Ruby and Simone would pass this information on to Ruby's parents.
The plot was easy to follow and if you are able to listen to the language used through out the book, you will come away with a definite knowledge of the struggles of what being black at that time was like.
The characters were well developed. The narrator, Kevin R. Free, was truly excellent. His interpretation of the many voices was stunning. I gave the story only 3 stars because of the language. The language gives a reader no need to interpret what is meant.
I don't believe I'll forget the story I listened to until I depart from this world. That is the proof that this book was a struggle to listen to, not so much because of the language, but because of the truth of the words.
Hilarious, Shocking & Touching
I love Mama Ruby! I read The Upper Room years ago and the Mama Ruby character was insane. She was hilarious, over-bearing, controlling and a bit unbelievable. However, in this book, the listener is able to experience the development of Mama Ruby and better understand how she came to be "Mama Ruby". Readers of the Upper Room questioned how Mama Ruby was able to commit the unspeakable act that was central to the plot line. In this prequel, while the reader may not agree about the appropriateness of Mama Ruby's behavior in committing the unspeakable act, they are now able to understand why she did it.
Kevin Free's performance was flawless. I actually forgot that this book had only one person reading it. Well done!
The title is sufficient
I would rank "Moma Ruby" among the best top rated audiobooks in my library.
My favorite character was Ruby because she was so unpredictible and outspoken. She was some kind of "sassy"!
I ABSOLUTELY loved listening to this audiobook and it is because of the great narration performed by Kevin R. Free. Kevin's voice transitioned perfectly to fit each character so vividly and precise that you feel like you are instantly taken back into the era and time setting of the book. I have listened to other books that Kevin has narrated and really enjoyed them but I have to say that this is his BEST performance (that I have encountered so far). He definitely gets an academy award for this!
A sin and a shame...
Mary Monroe is among one of my favorite authors. i wish someone would have told me about how good a book Moma Ruby was before now but I am telling you. Besides Moma Ruby's violent side, she is a likable character and brings much excitement to this story. Mary made an excellent decision in choosing Kevin Free as the narrator.
If you loved the Upper Room and wanted more this book is for you. It goes back in time and tells you all about Ruby from childhood to adulthood. I enjoyed the narrator, Kevin Free. He brings the story to life with how he changes the voice for each character. I found myself laughing out loud and very entertained. I want more!
Ruby is the best character!
Kevin Free brings this story to life. I feel that I'm a part of the story.
Love books on tape! It's all about the narrators for me though. No matter how good the story, if the narrator doesn't cut it...
I really enjoyed this story. Even though I knew the outcome, I was still on the edge of my seat towards the end. Mama Ruby is one tough Mama! The ignorance and naivete of the girls kinda got on my nerves at times, but they were very young and inexperienced. Great story though. I'm now about to order part two.
Amazing, Exciting, and Shocking
Ruby....her straight to the point attitude.
Mary Monroe is a great writer.
I love Mary Monroe's writing. Her characters are very believable.....I can see them in my mind. Since I don't have time to sit and read anymore, I am really enjoying the convenience of audible books on my Kindle. While at work I just plug in the earphones and I'm transported into the story..... what a thrill!!
Once again Mary Monroe has captivated me with a story that is told so vivid and to the point about Ruby Jean Upshaw. Although her young life was full of tragedy Monroe lures you in and sends the listener/reader on a roller coaster ride. I listened to this book before the prequel The Upper Room but I am anxious to see what happens to Mama Ruby. Great job Mary Monroe!
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