The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat

The title of this book intrigued me from the moment I first saw it. I enjoy reading books with settings in the South, and this title is as Southern as it gets. The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat is set in a fictional town in southern Indiana called Plainview. Reminiscent of The Help, this debut novel by Edward Kelsey Moore is filled with the charm and wit of the South. As African American teenagers in the late 1960's, Clarice, Barbara Jean, and Odette hung out with most of their peers in a diner called Earl's. Because the three girls were so inseparable, they were dubbed "The Supremes" and they received their own personal table at Earl's. They are as different as night and day, but remain the best of friends through sickness, life, death and unfaithful husbands. Over the years, they continue to meet at their table in Earl's, after church on Sundays. As in many small towns, Earl's All You Can Eat Diner is the main gathering place for gossip, laughter and good food .

Even if you did not grow up in the sixties, you can't help but fall in love with the Supremes and their array of friends. Now in their middle 50s, the three women are still the best of friends. Odette is musically gifted and converses with ghosts, including her deceased marijuana smoking mother and a drunken Eleanor Roosevelt. (Mrs. Roosevelt seems to not only enjoy hearty partying in the afterlife but also works as an angel of death). Clarice must struggle to keep up appearances as she deals with her philandering husband. And then there is Barbara Jean, who endured a miserable childhood, married well but then experienced even more severe grief in her adult life. The author has created a story that spans decades. We get glimpses of these years in flashbacks as told by the characters themselves. He captures Southern small town life at its best. Did you know that the number of hams brought to a funeral wake determines how popular the person was?

Who knew a male author could capture relationships and female perception/intuition so well? I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would recommend the Supremes and their story to fans of Joshilyn Jackson, Fannie Flagg and Maeve Binchy. A fun book about relationships and life in a small Southern town, this is a read everyone can enjoy regardless of race and gender.

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