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

by Edward Kelsey Moore

(Knopf, $24.95, 320 pages)

Who is this author?

Edward Kelsey Moore, an accomplished cellist in Chicago who also writes fiction, makes his debut as a novelist with “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat.” Moore’s shorter fiction pieces have appeared in such literary journals as Indiana Review, African American Review, and Inkwell. One of his stories, the intriguingly titled “Grandma and the Elusive Fifth Crucifix” was an audience favorite on NPR’s “Stories on Stage” series.

What is this book about?

You can’t hurry love, and you can’t hurry a good story, either. While the three women at the center of “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat” aren’t the famous Motown trio, they sing their stories from the heart as they look back over 40 years of their lives in Plainview, Indiana, where on Sundays they met for dinner at Earl’s diner. Known around town as “the Supremes,” Odette, Clarice and Barbara Jean launch a friendship in the ‘60s that endures, even as they suffer family troubles, straying husbands, a cancer diagnosis, drinking problems and all the seemingly ordinary ups and downs that are anything but ordinary when they happen to you.

Why you’ll like it:

Evoking such popular fiction as ‘The Help” and “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café,” this is a down-to-earth story about the positive power of friendship, the negative but intriguing power of gossip and the way women survive the difficulties of life. Lightened by plenty of humor, some of it raunchy, and full of heart, this is a novel full of endearing characters and situations that readers can relate to.

What others are saying:

Says Publishers Weekly: “Each of the central characters brings unique challenges to the tables at Earl’s diner: Odette battles cancer while her pothead mother communicates with famous ghosts; Clarice tries to salvage a crumbling marriage with her cheating husband; and beautiful Barbara Jean, who married for money, drinks to forget a youthful affair and her dead son. In a booth at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, a short walk from Calvary Baptist Church, these women lay bare their passions, shortfalls, and dramas. …Despite meandering points-of-view and a surplus of exposition, Moore is a demonstrative storyteller and credits youthful eavesdropping for inspiring this multifaceted novel. …. Moore’s take on this rowdy troupe of outspoken, lovable women has its own distinctive pluck.”

Kirkus Reviews says: “Well, not Florence, Mary and Diana, but rather three close friends from Plainview, Ind., who, from their adolescence to their maturity, meet to gossip and consolidate their friendship at a local eatery. Odette, Clarice and Barbara Jean have been inseparable since the late 1960s, when they met in high school. … The novel opens some 40 years after their salad days, when Odette hears of the death of Big Earl, founder of the eponymous black-owned-and-operated restaurant. …we learn of the trio’s personal problems and the rise and fall of their relationships…. Throughout the Supremes’ intertwined stories is one constant–meeting and eating at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, now run by his son Little Earl, a place where relationships are forged, scandals are aired and copious amounts of chicken are consumed.  A novel of strong women, evocative memories and deep friendship.”

“The author uses warmhearted humor and salty language to bring to life a tight-knit African-American community. . . . along with an event-filled plot that readers will laugh and cry over, this is a good bet to become a best seller,” says Library Journal.

“Edward Kelsey Moore has written a novel jam-packed with warmth, honesty, wit, travail, and just enough madcap humor to keep us giddily off-balance. It  teems with memorable characters, chief among them Odette, as unlikely and  irresistible protagonist as we are likely to meet. “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat” is that rare and happy find: a book that delivers not only a good story, but good company,”  says Leah Hager Cohen, author of “The Grief of Others.”

When is it available?

You can visit “Earl’s” at the Albany, Barbour,  Blue Hills, Goodwin or Mark Twain branches of the Hartford Public Library.

Do you have something to say about this book, this author or books in general? Please post your comments here and I will respond. Let’s get a good books conversation going!

Comments are closed.