Top positive review
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"Is this a wedding party, or a police lineup?"...
on March 14, 2013
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.