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The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 12, 2013
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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
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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Top customer reviews
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.
When I started reading it,I wasn't prepared for ghosts taking an active part in the action. However by the time I had read a bit farther on, everything pulled together completely, making sense as the extra voices added humor and sage advice to the lives of the main characters, the Supremes, as they were named by their friends and neighbors.
The story unfolds within a black community in small Southern town during the 1960's a time of difficult racial problems in our country. Introducing the three women, who remain lifetime friends and their husbands with all the surrounding town folk adds their personalities and opinions to the tale.
As the story evolves, you are let into each main character's life to find how the bond between the three friends has evolved through time. The cafe, where they meet after church each Sunday, also plays a major part in the plot as it is through the owner of it, that the first white boy is hired to wait on tables and work there. From then on things change within the little community, some things for the better, and some for heart break.
Probably one of the funniest chapters I have ever read in any book takes place at a wedding that has been overly planned to be a big show in the community. Of course it was carefully planned by a woman who was playing, " Can You Top This" for her friends, whom she looked upon as beneath her socially.
I loved this book. It opened up for me a new way of looking at family, friends, and even in thinking about those who have gone out my own life by now. I highly recommend it.
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!