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The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 12, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 639 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2013: In the small southern town of Plainview, Indiana, Odette, Barbara Jean, and Clarice have stayed close since their high school days, when they held court at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat. Affectionately called “the Supremes,” they survived the racial tensions of the ‘60s, splintering families, and complicated love affairs by always having each other’s backs. Now that they’ve reached their sixties, still living seemingly happy lives in their home town, Earl’s sudden passing isn’t the only trigger for their own post-mid-life crises. Feisty, steady Odette has been seeing a lot of her mother--who happens to be dead, and palling around with the misbehaving spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt. Clarice, always so concerned with keeping up appearances, has decided her philandering husband no longer gets a pass. And the greatest love of Barbara Jean’s past has returned, dredging up a harrowing loss she numbs with vodka. With many of the same winning qualities as The Help and Steel Magnolias, Edward Kelsey Moore’s debut is an utterly charming, often hilarious tribute to friendships so strong they eclipse the bonds of blood family. --Mari Malcolm

From Booklist

Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean have been close friends since girlhood, growing up in the 1960s in the southern Indiana town of Plainview. Their personalities and cool good looks earned them the name the Supremes when they’d meet regularly to eat at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, with Big Earl keeping a watchful eye on them. Now in middle age, the Supremes meet regularly with their husbands for dinner at Earl’s, now managed by his son. The aging Supremes and Earl’s are institutions in a black community that has seen much progress since the 1950s, when the restaurant became the first black-owned business in a racially divided town. But the town as well as the women have also seen much trouble. Odette makes time in her busy life for the regular visitations of her dead mother, Clarice copes with the humiliation of an unfaithful husband, and Barbara Jean struggles to hide her drinking to assuage the death of her child. Moore intersperses episodes from the past with their current lives, showing their enduring friendship through good times and bad. --Vanessa Bush

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (March 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307959929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307959928
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (639 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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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.
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Format: Hardcover
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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