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In this prequel to The Upper Room, Mama Ruby by Mary Monroe, readers receive a glimpse of Ruby Upshaw before she became Mama Ruby. Ruby is a young 15-year-old girl eager to learn and please others. Ruby’s experiences more than a grown woman in her young years. She also befriends the wrong individuals, which leads her on an unusual adventure.
Othella, Ruby’s best friend is one that parents would not like their children to bring home. Ruby is drawn to the freedom that Othella possesses and starts sneaking out of the house to hang around her. After discovering some unwanted information while visiting Othella’s house, Ruby decides to use it to her advantage. The two friends move to another city in hopes of finding husband’s and a new life. What the two friends stubble upon is more than they expected.
Mama Ruby is a story of friendship, dreams, and hopes for a better life. Having read the author’s previous novels, Mama Ruby was a slow read for me. The main characters’ experiences are realistic and gritty but the age range was a little over-the-top for me. This book had me thinking of my niece, who is the same age as Ruby, and I cannot imagine her participating in some of the situations or having the knowledge of these types of situations. I enjoy this author’s writing style and do recommend Mama Ruby to others.