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Extended Audio Sample The Upper Room Audiobook, by Mary Monroe Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.58 out of 53.58 out of 53.58 out of 53.58 out of 53.58 out of 5 3.58 (36 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary Monroe Narrator: Kevin R. Free Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 1985 ISBN: 9781436134538
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Set in the bayous of the Florida Everglades in a migrant labor camp, The Upper Room is a powerful, vibrant, and lyrical story, peopled with richly-drawn and unforgettable characters. Most memorable of all, is the indomitable, astounding, larger-than-life Mama Ruby, the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, a woman with healing hands, a voracious appetite, and a switchblade and a crucifix at her bosom. Mama Ruby may not be all crazy, but she’s at least halfway there. She’s known for taking things that aren’t rightfully hers, like her best friend’s stillborn baby, a tiny girl that she brought back to life and christened Maureen. She’s also rumored to have done away with her husband.

With her God-fearing neighbors watching her every step, it’s all Mama Ruby can do to stay ahead of the law. One desperate night, she flees to Goons, a dirt-poor migrant settlement in the Everglades and strangely, it feels like home. And through everything, she remains downright nuts about the one gift God gave her, her precious daughter Maureen. 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Reminiscent of Zora Neale Hurston…Fantastic and exaggerated, the novel…is a candid portrayal of the cold-blooded yet fascinating Mama Ruby.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Kevin Free is so skillful that the listener will forget the narrator of this dark comedy is a man.”

    AudioFile

  • “A chilling story that is bound to astound.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kendra Norris | 2/19/2014

    " Don't like this one at all. Couldn't understand or follow it.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gwen K | 2/11/2014

    " This was a good read but I wish I would have read this BEFORE Mama Ruby. There were quite a few inconsistencies with the main character that I probably would not have noticed had I read the original before the prequel. Overall, I did enjoy the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mschell | 2/7/2014

    " This is one of my favorite books of all time, the characters are very colorful and memorable. I listen to the audiobook at least once a year. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Miranda | 2/6/2014

    " I laughed my butt off!!!!!!! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kamilah | 1/27/2014

    " I really didn't like any of the books she wrote that I have read. I don't know what compelled me to even continue to read the books. They deal with a harsh subject and it seems like all she writes about is misery. I just didn't enjoy the stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arvetta | 1/19/2014

    " Mama Ruby was CRAZY! The way she treated her "daughter" seriously. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy Bergman | 1/15/2014

    " Liked the prequel "Mama Ruby" better. The main character was much more sympathetic in the prequel. Mama Ruby is almost a mythical character here and the story drags at times. Glad I read it, but certainly not a re-read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eddie | 1/13/2014

    " Moma Ruby is crazy... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denise Rose | 1/3/2014

    " I loved it, kept me guessing, wondering what will happen next, you will not be disappointed, a little thriller of a read! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chinea | 10/20/2013

    " I couldn't really get into this book... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Toni | 10/15/2013

    " ONE OF MY FAvorite Mary Monroe Books!!! Very lots of humor "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beryl | 10/13/2013

    " this was a read of my book club. We had such fun discussin it! mama ruby was a trip! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawnte | 10/10/2013

    " When this novel first hit the shelves, I tried to get into it but couldn't. After reading the prequel Mama Ruby (which I enjoyed) this novel made more sense to me. It was a great read and the prequel explained alot of the things that went on in the Upper Room. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jasmine | 10/5/2013

    " Felt like I wasted my time at the end of the book. It was good all the way through but the ending was like blah... Oh well... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Venyke Pompey | 9/25/2013

    " these book is too crazy but is a really good book "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patti Tindal | 7/16/2013

    " Read in one day. Still like tje Annette Goode (God Don't Like Ugly etc) better but Mamma Ruby & co are an interesting bunch for sure! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sonia | 7/14/2013

    " enjoyable......kept my attention "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathrine | 6/11/2013

    " nice change of pace. different story but fun characters "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irismichaux | 6/9/2013

    " The story was great. Mama Ruby rules, what I like the most is that all she did (good or bad) she stated that it was the work of the Lord!!! She even believe d that she's the devil working for the Lord. Great read. Now I'm going to read the follow-up book "Mama Ruby" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindyw626 | 6/8/2013

    " I really enjoyed reading this story. It was a page turner to see what was going to happen next. Mama Ruby was something else I must say. Reading this story is why I am reading the story Mama Ruby now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nazmx3 | 1/22/2013

    " Love Ir! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 1/2/2013

    " A solid 3. It was full of action yet somehow dragged along. I nearly gave up. The ending was too swift. Most of it packed in a few pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat | 5/14/2012

    " Very interesting. Many problems...almost more than I wanted to deal with. Not one of my favorite books as the problems were so deep and sad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Soapykitty | 3/30/2012

    " Mama Ruby was such a great book that right after I read it I hurried up and bought The Upper Room. Mama Ruby is such a kickass character (she rips a man's arm off with her bare hands!) and you'll never forget her. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Arlene | 3/21/2012

    " Books certainly introduce one to another world. A bit of a torture reading. The story just keeps going and going. It is an easy read but it is taking me an extremely long time to get to the end (hopefully by the end of tonight). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lavunda Cookie | 3/18/2012

    " Good book. Put a light on Mental Illness with violence tendencies. Overall a good read already having read previous work with Mama Rudy Character. Very Enjoyable and thought provoking. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tori | 12/2/2011

    " I just could not get into this book for some reason -- I tried but I just couldn't wrap my mind around the storyline. Read it as a part of a book club and it was one of those selections that left me flat. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Juanita | 10/12/2011

    " Mama Ruby is one craaaaazzzzy woman....good story...funny at times heart touching and suspenseful... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kdb1806 | 7/24/2011

    " Wasn't that interested "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laskisha | 5/8/2011

    " Mama Ruby is crazy,can't believe she did all that she did. Really wished there would have been a epilogue. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chinea | 8/7/2009

    " I couldn't really get into this book... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 IronyOnHighHeels | 6/27/2009

    " Fantastically gripping story of a different USA (for non English speakers - it takes a while to get a hang of it since it is written in Southern slang) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 D.y. | 5/25/2009

    " My favorite book by Mary Monroe. The main character, Mama Ruby, is someone that I will never forget. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nikki | 11/2/2008

    " Great Read. This is a book I would definitely read again. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tori | 6/19/2008

    " I just could not get into this book for some reason -- I tried but I just couldn't wrap my mind around the storyline. Read it as a part of a book club and it was one of those selections that left me flat. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beryl | 10/21/2007

    " this was a read of my book club. We had such fun discussin it! mama ruby was a trip! "

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About the Author
Author Mary Monroe

Mary Monroe is a New York Times bestselling African American fiction author. Her first novel, The Upper Room, was published in 1985. She is best known for her novel God Don’t Like Ugly, and the series revolves around the characters it first introduced.

About the Narrator

Kevin R. Free is a multiple Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator. Known for his work with young adult novels, he has read titles by Rick Riordan, Walter Dean Myers, and Joe Haldeman. In 2011 he was named a Best Voice in Young Adult & Fantasy from AudioFile magazine for his narration of Myers’ The Cruisers: Checkmate.