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Edward Kelsey Moore's first novel, "The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat", is a rollicking, yet thoughtful, look at the black middle class community in a small southern Indiana town. Another reviewer points out that the book is populated by stereotypes, and it is, but somehow author Moore puts an incredible amount of nuance into those characters, so they go from "stereotype" almost to friends the reader can imagine having. And imaginary - or downright dead - friends do populate the book. Any book where a dead Eleanor Roosevelt sits cross-legged on a medical devise in a hospital ICU room, is definitely worth reading.

Yes, Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the dead characters in the book. However, Edward Moore gives much more space to those still here. The "Supremes", three women who are life-long friends, have reached the ages of 55 with all the happiness and pain those years, and relationships, bring. Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean are the feisty main characters around whom the story is drawn, but each has her own back story that affects today's storyline. It's not easy to write about a plot in "Supremes"; the plot is secondary to character and relationship development. "Things" happen, but they are dealt with with love and compassion. Sometimes with the help of those on the "other side".

"Supremes" is not a work of great literature. However, it can be rightfully compared to such novels as "Terms of Endearment" and the novels of Southern author James Wilcox. Those novels - and "Supremes" - are works that examine the people in small town America. In general, not poor and downtrodden lives, but those of the solidly middle class. The only difference in Wilcox's work and Moore's is that Wilcox writes about eccentric southern whites and Moore writes about eccentric southern blacks. These people, with deep roots in the modern society of southern towns, change and adapt with the times. Even though relationships may flourish and wither, the beloved dead in Moore's book are there to help those still on "this side" to give their lives a push towards the happiness and contentment they deserve.

Moore's book is a lovely book for those who treasure relationships over plot. I hope Moore continues to write; he's shown himself quite well in this book.
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The ghosts who inhabit this story are possibly my favorite characters, especially Odette's mother. I am a sucker for a well portrayed ghost mother with a witty mouth. I have to say I rather loved this book, even though I admit the story of life long women friends has been told before. But the story of these women has not been told, and I found their characters fresh and replete with with wry, intelligence. Intelligence in this case applying to the business of living. Odetter, Barbara Jean and Clarice are dubbed the Supremes by the founder of the diner and they reigned at their table ever since.

I said that the ghosts were my favorite characters, and the way death is portrayed is quite special. The women have had times of near collapse after the death of a loved ones. Other times, the dead just fit into the fabric of the town. I love Odette's speaking with them and hearing their comments. And this is not presented in a cutesy or precious fashion. They are part of the plotline, at their own insistence.

To me, this book is that rare commodity of accessable literature written with polish and restraint. I recommend you take off your shoes and allow yourself to wander around in Leaning Tree for a few hours. When you look up bleary eyed, you will have been there in the best of terms.
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VINE VOICEon March 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I absolutely love this book and couldn't wait to review it because it is so uniquely good. When this became available through Vine, I figured what could I lose. I had no idea that I would gain so much.

Edward Kelsey Moore is a spectacular writer. I am barely able to do the book justice in a review because the book is almost other worldly good. The prose is tight, the characters multi-dimensional, and the story intriguing and exciting. I don't like to write reviews that spoil the story, and I don't want to give anything away here. Suffice it to say if you like stories about interesting communities, the dynamics and complexities of relationships between women and the men they love, and have an appreciation for a tale well-told, this is the book for you. I am a mystery reader, but am having trouble finding a good mystery now that PD James and Stephen White are closing up shop. Sometimes I like stories about relationships between women such as The Saving Graces: A Novel, but I don't like sappy stories about girlfriends finding romance. I was intrigued, oddly enough because the characters in this book had strong names: Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean. They sounded like women who would have each other's back and not take any crap or pull any punches. It turned out to be true. Although this book is written by a black author, apparently about black people, don't let that deter you if you usually don't reach such books. These women are every woman and their families could be your family.

Okay, I can't do this book justice without telling too much. One reviewer said that author Moore is "supremely gifted and supremely entertaining." I can't say it any better than that. I usually read my mysteries at night before going to sleep. This book is so good, I put it down to read only when fully alert because I don't want to miss a word of this supremely satisfying book. It is a special treat. Thank you Edward Kelsey Moore for giving life and breath to Odettaa, Clarice, and Barbara Jean.
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VINE VOICEon March 12, 2013
Imagine "Steel Magnolias" set in Indiana. Good, gripping read of youth and aging. .and changes of perspective, of dreams realized and unrealized...an appreciation of youth and the challenges of aging...good, at times touching read...
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on March 23, 2013
What an engrossing, engaging, and moving world of pain, suffering, death, community, friendship, and love Moore has created, without sentimentality but with a rich appreciation of both the comedy and the beauty of individuals. Nobody is a stereotype; everyone is truly noticed. Absurdity is acknowledged and relished, but nobody is despised. Mama's conviction of her own beauty and self-worth is a powerful Life Lesson! Ghosts are recognized and confronted.

I read it in one long sitting -- couldn't put it down, and I eagerly await his next book.
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on March 30, 2013
I was very surprised to note only 13 reviews on amazon for this novel. Since I am a reader and NOT a writer, I will not tell you the plot or critique the author's style. I can say that this book made me feel like I got up Christmas morning and Santa Claus had stayed overnight so that he could hand me a plate of fried chicken, taters and gravy, and french silk pie so that I didn't have to waste time cooking when I could be out shoe shopping in my newly donated car. And I got a haircut and a manicure and some fairies had cleaned my house while I slept and it would never get dirty again. This is a REALLY feel-good book with characters that you WISH you could sit next to at the doctor's office. Heck, this is the book that you want to live in again and again. It isnt all lightness and fluff. It is honest and sad and funny and kind. So, no spoilers here.....read the story and be glad that it was written and shared with us.
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VINE VOICEon March 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat is the story of the friendship between three women, Clarice, Barbara Jean and Odette. Dubbed "the Supremes "by Big Earl the owner of the All You Can Eat, these three friends share the ups and downs of life in the 60's and 70's and beyond. One struggles to keep up appearances despite a messy home life. One struggles with memories of past abuse and true love lost and the third is faced with lie and death. Odette is further struggling with her newfound abilities to commune with the dead, especially with her late mother and her mother's frequent side kick, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. Though the women remain in their hometown their struggles mirror the nation's. Each one is struggling with family needs, community expectations and her own needs and wants.

Edward Kelsey Moore has crafted a delightful first novel, never skimping on characters or reducing them to serotypes. The story is poignant and funny and will draw readers to any other books he decides to write. An outstanding first effort.
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on July 28, 2013
This book was an unexpected "pleasant" surprise. It was mysterious and serious, yet heartwarming and comical all at the same time.

I simply loved the fact that this story (minus the ghost) could actually be a tale of a group of long time friends anywhere in small town America.

It is refreshing that the main characters are "middle-aged" with everyday situations that could occur to characters of any age. Mr. Moore shows that you can still be witty, gorgeous, sexy, handsome, and a "snappy dresser" well into your 50's...while this is not unheard of, it is rarely captured in literature with such conviction. For this, I give him a "standing ovation!!"

There are many twists and turns, just when you think you know "who dunnit`" or what is going to happen next, Edward Moore takes you for a literary ride, in a totally different direction, with an unexpected detail that makes you say...ah ha!.

Because the characters are so vivid; You will find yourself laughing, crying, gasping and screaming to the characters out loud (i.e. run Barbara Jean..., run!!).

Mr. Moore mastered the transitions from past to present and back again with the ease of veteran author; vs. a writer on his maiden voyage.

My book club will be discussing this weekend at a "Soul Food" restaurant in Jacksonville, FL, and I can hardly wait!
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on March 17, 2013
This book is so funny! Ghosts...a cheating husband...friendships! A must read...me and Mrs. Roosevelt recommend it highly! A must read!
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Prepare yourself for a delightful time when you pick up Edward Kelsey Moore's "The Supremes At Earl's All You Can Eat". Populated with a very appealing cast of characters, this novel is one that will have you laughing aloud at their witticisms, wisdom, and philosophies on life and living. It will make you wish for friends as true and as loving as Odette, Barbara Jean, and Clarice.

"The Supremes At Earl's All You Can Eat" will have you smiling from the very first page as Odette deals with a "personal summer moment" and converses with the ghost of her dead mother. Mama is a feisty, witty "round" woman, who herself conversed with ghosts on a regular basis. Accompanied by the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt, Mama makes several appearances throughout the book and plays a critical role in the storyline. Big Earl casts his influence throughout "The Supremes At Earl's All You Can Eat"; his compassion and wisdom have been instrumental in the lives of each of the characters.

As the novel progresses, readers are treated to a glimpse into the lives of women - Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean - who have been friends since childhood; whose roots are deeply planted in their hometown; and who grow and change as they move through life. Each woman will face her fears, will find strength in their friendship, and will emerge stronger as a result of the trials each must endure.

Edward Kelsey Moore has given readers a delightful novel. Characters are well defined, rich in their love for one another, and poignantly real. "The Supremes At Earl's All You Can Eat" is special book that will touch you in many ways. Definitely a 5-star book!
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