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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • dee dee J
  • los angeles, ca United States
  • 10-28-11

I am disappointed!!

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...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

narrator... lol

I loved the narrator! if not for him I don't know if I would have finished.

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Great Book

I enjoyed this book, I just wish it ended differently with more detail. I recommend it.

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Brilliant

I love this book it was a great compliment to Mary Monroe's first book now I'm about to start Lost Daughters and I hope it's just as good.

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Very good read

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. However, I would tell them to read this one BEFORE the read The Upper Room. I read both these books years ago, and just revisited this one today. It made a lot of sense to read it 1st

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Not surprised. Though since I already read the Upper Room, it seems the book ended abruptly, and more detail could've been added.

Which character – as performed by Kevin R. Free – was your favorite?

The main character, Ruby. I found her funny and witty.

Any additional comments?

It typical Mary Monroe style, the overuse of sniff/sniffed and gasp/gasped is prevalent in this book as well. I really wish she would find different words to use.

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i absolutely loved the narrator.

book definitely took me on a ride and I felt like there were several different readers. it was a great listen.

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Better than the first two!

I absolutely love this prequel better than the hilarious Upper room and sad lost daughters books. My absolute favorite of the 3. Mary Monroe ma'am you have done it once again I LOVE your books.

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Great book !!

The story was well written and I throughly enjoyed the narrator . It exceeded my expectations . There's always an amazing plot twist which makes for an amazing book .

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  • Story

Unknown Future

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.

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  • SonjCos
  • Wesley Chapel, Fl, United States
  • 10-22-13

Excellent prequel to The Upper Room!

If you could sum up Mama Ruby in three words, what would they be?

Hilarious, Shocking & Touching

Who was your favorite character and why?

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.

What does Kevin R. Free bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Kevin Free's performance was flawless. I actually forgot that this book had only one person reading it. Well done!

If you could rename Mama Ruby, what would you call it?

The title is sufficient