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The Upper Room

The Upper Room

4.0 160
by Mary Monroe

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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


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

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Originally published in 1985, Mary Monroe's engaging debut novel, The Upper Room, features Ruby Montgomery, an obese, indomitable character who steals her best friend's baby daughter and flees to rural Florida, where she establishes herself as an almost mythical figure. The dialogue and setting are reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston, but the story has a bizarre, violent edge ? la Stephen King. Fantastic and exaggerated, the novel may seem dated in its descriptions of race and sex, but it is a candid portrayal of the cold-blooded yet fascinating Mama Ruby. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
A Mama Ruby Novel Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)

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The Upper Room 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 160 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book on recommendation from others that really enjoyed it. I found it bizarre, disturbing and not in the least bit funny. Mama Ruby is little more than a drunken nut-case with a God/Devil complex. Even more upsetting is that she is held in the highest esteem by a bunch of disturbed cronies that are constantly surrounding her and supporting her craziness. Just about every character in the story acts like they were dropped on their heads as babies. The story is bizarre at best, with too many incredibly absurd and unbelievable events (even on the level of fiction). I like to get lost in a story, to feel involved. All I wanted to do was run away chapter after chapter. If this is what I can expect from Mary Monroe, I wont bother with any of her other titles. It's too bad, because I really wanted to enjoy this book. It just didnt happen for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Momma Ruby got issues!!! Liked the story alot, if you have read any Mary Monroe books you will like The Upper Room.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Parts of the book were entertaining but most was just too weird. The author went overboard with the unbelievable killings throughout the story. I'm glad that this was a lendable book. Would have been upset had I sent money on it...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finished the book in two days. It was different, not somsthing i was use to. I love suspense, murder, and horror books. This was a mild version of all three. I would reccomend that you read this if u want an in between book.
LibraChick76 More than 1 year ago
This was my second time reading this book, and I can't quite remember if I enjoyed the first time around, but this time.....I was seriously "SMDH." I felt like I needed to read it again, because Mary Monroe wrote "Mama Ruby" AFTER this book....and this book was the sequel!!! Sooooo any old way, my main hopes were that Ruby would reunite with her daughter that she was forced to part with when she was young. Unless I was so thrown off by Mama Ruby's LUNACY.....I DON'T EVEN THINK THAT WAS MENTIONED :( In addition to that, Mama Ruby was a for real crazy lady. I won't take away the fact that there were definitely some "laugh out loud" parts throughout the book, but for the most part Mama Ruby point blank "got on my nerves!!" I was ecstatic when Maureen finally escaped her ignoramus reigns and even more ecstatic that she wasn't weak enough to fall for the idiotic stunts that Mama Ruby and her crew pulled. I don't regret the purchase because I am HUGE "Mary Monroe" fan, however I have to be honest in saying this was by far one of the worst books she's ever written :(
grisleyplanet2 More than 1 year ago
Without a doubt one of the worse books I have ever read. There is so much to dislike in this book, murder, mayhem and madness. This is the second book in a series and begins with Mama Mary having settled down in a new town in Florida.She has with her, her son and the "daughter" the Lord gave her, by way of her best friend (her friend thought the baby was born stillborn). She is the principle character and is this incredible invincible woman, the present day super woman I suppose. She is a mean-spirited, contemptible, beer guzzling bully who kills seemingly for little reason other than the fact that she perceives you have in some way crossed her. Those that surrounded her are pulled into her craziness because they are afraid of her. Her son and the "daughter" are no more than pawns to satisfy her narcissistic self. She involves her son in these killings and tells him she has received these revelations from God, and this gives her permission to kill. A deranged character who contaminates all of those that come into contact with her. In fact if you can believe it half of the town in which she lived seemed afraid of her. I really didn't care for any of the characters. Perhaps the only redeeming person was her son. I didn't care for this book at all.
Island_Beauty3 More than 1 year ago
This book was very good. It had me laughing throughout the entire book. The characters were very funny and very believable. Mama Ruby is someone that I think everyone has met in their lives to a certain extent. Although I didn't like the ending I can't wait to see if there will be a part 2...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book written about violence, racism, alcoholism and religious beliefs. The story takes you on a journey through the civil rights era, following loud mouth Mama Ruby. People both love and fear her. It follows the relationship between Mama Ruby and Maureen and a cast of characters. Difficult to read at times. This book is not about civil rights per se, but is centered in that time. Im looking forward to reading more by Mary Monroe.
SamIAm1957 More than 1 year ago
I am completely, totally underwhelmed by this book. So disjointed - the subject hops around and great gaps in the storyline leave me wondering just exactly what the point is. I'm only about 100 pages into it, but for the life of me I can't figure out why I keep reading, and I never, ever just drop a book. This may be a first for me but most likely I'll struggle through. I must say I am a very fast reader - I've been at it two weeks and keep falling asleep. Mama Ruby is nuts. The cast of characters is somewhat nuts and mostly not too believable. I'm bored.
Bailey5000 More than 1 year ago
This book was extremley weird the writer was all over the place with her story try to give her chance by reading the other book Mamma Ruby, but it just as wack as the other book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is entetaining but the ending is disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt stop reading this book! So many details ...poor maureen i wish she would have heard the truth. Some events that took place were crazy...it was crazy that no one around mama ruby told her she was wrong
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you’re in the mood for a quick read and a little bit of suspense, then this is the book for you. Mama Ruby,is believed to have special powers. In fact, her “healing hands” brought her best friend Othella’s still born daughter back to life. Since Mama Ruby had always longed to have her very own daughter, she took this as a sign that the baby was a gift from God. So, without a word to Othella, Mama Ruby steals off into the night with the baby she named Maureen and settles in a migrant community outside of Miami. She gains the reputation of someone whom is not to be played with. She “chastises” those who dare to cross her and has her son Virgil help her hide the bodies. THE UPPER ROOM is filled with a cast of colorful characters and just enough drama and suspense to keep you turning the pages and craving for more.
R2RG More than 1 year ago
Excellent read, there is something at every turn. Without giving anything Ruby is a character she is one woman no one wants to miss with. And doing what she did to her best friend wow. Just read it will not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book! Love all Mary Monroe books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The things that make you say umph! Spectacular read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, this would not go down as this authors best work. I mean it was ok, but i have read better. Mama ruby was defintely CRAZY! And so was everybody else for following in behind her.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I... sys.,muo m, K, imnmo Kpki j..o
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although it had many unbelievable tales, it was still entertaining. I can however see for that era how so many folks could fall under her spell. I did wish the book had ended differently though, especially for Maureen. For those who will not be reading anymore of Mary Monroes books based on this one, you will definitely be missing a treat. She is an awesome author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book years ago & hated it. There wasn't anything to like about Ruby's crazy ass. I just finished reading Mama Ruby & still don't like her !