The Supremes at Earl’s All-you-can-eat

The Supremes at Earl's All-you-can-eatThe challenge: to read a novel in less than a week AND prepare an online book club (with some research), while being in the midst of the Winter Olympics craze.  The bonus: with Moore’s story it was almost easy, considering how fun it was to get immersed in his characters’ world.  I didn’t want the feeling to end!  I want to walk into Earl’s All-you-can-eat every Sunday and see what other crazy story is about to unfold among the group.  And after reading it, you’d want to become their friends too.  How this has not been selected as an Oprah pick yet, is beyond me!  Well, seems I’ve got dibs.
I’m here to tell you that this story is one wonderful ride that will keep you laughing all the way to the final page.  Along the route, there is heartache and drama but everything turns out sunny in the end.  Family and friends will do that to you, sometimes.  So, what is this fabulous book about?
Three girlfriends (who have known each other since high school) get together at Earle’s All-you-can-eat every Sunday in their home town of Plainview, Indiana, to stuff themselves silly and get the latest scoop on what is happening in the community.  In the 60’s they were dubbed “The Supremes” because they hung out together all the time but they also supported each other through all the ups and downs—including troubled childhoods and then racial tensions that were happening between their neighborhood and the white folks across the wall on the other side of town.
Odette is the strong one of the group, who was born in a sycamore tree; Clarice is the charming one, who was the first black baby to be born at University Hospital; and Barbara Jean is the one who turns heads wherever she goes, but was born on her teacher’s davenport.  Each woman has their unique personality trait and they compliment one another seamlessly, truly making them seem like a force to be reckoned with.
We are introduced to their spouses and we also travel back in time when the three first become friends and they learn how to cope with the social problems around them during civil unrest.  As Barbara Jean tries to deal with her tragic past (which involved a forbidden love affair with a white man), Clarice struggles to come to terms with her on-going tribulations of a cheating husband (while also contemplating her musical career) and Odette must face the biggest challenge that will question the fate of her future—concerning both her mind and body.
It is easy to conjure up words in a short amount of time when you are passionate about a novel.  I cannot praise this book enough; my only regret is that I did not read it sooner!  If you liked The Help by Kathryn Stockett, this story will mean even more to you.  It makes you feel better at the end too!  It is a novel that possesses heart and soul.  It also has the power to comfort and heal.  I have not read a “feel-good” story like this since the Fall.  Do NOT miss out on this one—you will be sorry if you do.  It is storytelling at its best.  Besides invoking laughter, it is perfect material for book clubs too.

If you are a member of the library, we have this title currently in Hard copy only.  This may or may not change in the future.  Please check the catalogue frequently for an update of formats.

To read reviews on The Supremes at Earle’s All-you-can-eat, please click on the links below.
From Publisher’s Weekly.

From The Washington Informer.

For information on Edward Kelsey Moore, click below:
http://www.edwardkelseymoore.com/about-ekm.html

Discussion Questions

Here are a few questions that I found from Moore’s website:

-Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean are best friends, but they’re quite different.  What is a defining moment in each of their lives?
-The chapters alternate between Odette’s voice and an omniscient third-person narrator. What is the effect of this in storytelling?  Why does Moore choose Odette as a narrator rather than Clarice or Barbara Jean?

For more of these questions, please refer to the link provided below: http://www.edwardkelseymoore.com/uploads/1/0/6/6/10663888/supremes_reading_group_questions.pdf

Interesting Tidbit
Although I have heard that smoking pot can help cancer patients with pain, I did not know it could also stimulate appetite (as Odette’s mother suggests), which is what many who are diagnosed with the illness need (to gain strength back and fight off infections).  From the National Cancer Institute website, I read how this theory has been tested and may be the case.  For more information on the medical uses of cannabis, please click here.

This book reminded me of …
Several good stories entered my mind, while I read Moore’s novel.  The Help came to the forefront because of the time frame shared between the books.  Even though Moore’s story jumps from the present to the 60’s, it is still very much part of the plot, along with all the hardships that black communities had to face and deal with.  The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis covers similar issues, including spiritual beliefs of congregations and the infidelity of husbands.  When Odette speaks about good and bad omens, that got me thinking about Yejide Kilanko’s Daughters Who Walk This PathIn Dancing Lessons, by Olive Senior, we are shown how the main character deals with her insecurities about getting older, becoming the woman she has always wanted to be and making worthwhile friends.  All these themes mirror Moore’s work.  Finally, with Thrity Umrigar’s The World We Found, friendship is the core point which causes best friends to risk their lives for one another.  Armaiti is diagnosed with cancer, just as Odette is, and we see how the women support one another in similar ways (even though the place and culture is different).

Favorite quote from book:
“I loved that time of day, that time just before sunrise … I was free to appreciate the quiet and the way the yellowish-gray light of the rising sun entered the room, turning everything from black and white to color.  The journey from Kansas to Oz right in my own kitchen.” (p. 5)

Most memorable moment in the story:
I will tell you that this was the most difficult part for me to decide.  There are just too many memorable, crazy, hilarious and shocking moments to choose from that I just want the whole experience to stay with me for a long time.  I do have to settle though, on one that blew me away, in terms of humor and spunk.  Odette’s loyalty to Barbara Jean and her “fearlessness” gets a chance to shine when she threatens to have a boxing match with Forrest Payne, in her underwear. (p. 117)

Next month’s title:
Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

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