Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat

The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore is largely a story of friendship. Odette, Barbara Jean, and Clarice have been best friends since high school; now in their fifties, they are still going strong. The book takes the reader on a journey through the past that shows how they became who they are today. It weaves two separate time periods together seamlessly, jumping between the 1960s and 2005.
Each character really has their own story, and they are intertwined together to make one book. My favorite character was Odette; born in a sycamore tree, she is seemingly fearless. Odette is the unspoken leader of the group, and always knows what is going on with the other two, whether or not they actually tell her. She is the only character in the book whose story is told in first person, making her seem more real than the other two in some ways. We see in her head more thoroughly and understand her thoughts, concerns, and observations.
Barbara Jean and Clarice’s stories are both told in a third person format. Each woman has a lot to tell, and they all jump between past and present. Despite the jumping back and forth, the story still had surprises, and it never felt stilted. The past stories tended to interest me more than the present, since it dealt with racism (all three women are African-American, in southern Indiana), interracial couples, and how the women came to be where they are at the present. I liked knowing their backgrounds and what made them make their decisions. Each woman has their own demons to face, and the author does a nice job of mingling the stories, while holding back just enough information to surprise the reader at the end.
One aspect of the book I was not expecting, but wound up really enjoying, was the appearance of ghosts. Odette begins seeing ghosts within the first chapter of the book. Magical realism was not something I thought of when I chose this novel, but it worked so seamlessly into the story that it was a pleasant surprise.
The book started out slowly, and the author has a habit of overly describing situations, which got old. I liked that the author touched upon world events, was honest about the times the characters were living in, and showed such a range of living situations. Sometimes things went on a bit too long, and there were definitely a few things I knew were coming. Despite these factors, the book was funny, heartwarming, and overall a good read.

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~Cailey W.

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