The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore
|The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Forget the comparison to The Help - this is a great story in its own right and a book you'll return to, Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: March 2013|
|Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton|
|External links: Author's website|
In Plainview, Indiana there are three women who have been friends since their teens. Forty years after they first met they're still known as the Supremes, the name given to them by Big Earl at his All-You-Can-Eat diner. The diner's now run by his son, Little Earl, but you'll find the Supremes at the table in the window every Sunday, after church, along with their families. Odette tells us her own story, from the time she was born in a sycamore tree, which made her the fearless soul she is. But now she's up against something which even she might not be able to face down. Clarice was always the well-brought-up young lady as well as being a musician of some considerable merit, but her husband is causing her problems. Even serial philanderers would be in awe of what Richmond gets up to.
Then there's Barbara Jean, who started life in a hovel and was left with an abusive step father when her mother died. In her fifties she's having to deal with the consequences of a teenage love affair. But, whatever their problems the women have each other and The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat is a hymn of praise to the value of female friendship and women who keep everything going, no matter what the problem.
It's always a big risk when you compare a book to a great work of fiction. Unless it's something pretty special there are going to be quite a few negative comments, so when I read that this was a book for fans of The Help I was excited and nervous. In the beginning I thought my worst fears were going to be confirmed as I struggled to differentiate the women - and their husbands - from each other. Well, except for Richmond, that is - there couldn't be two like him! But relax - make a note of who's who if it helps - and enjoy the fact that you're not just meeting three women and their husbands. You're getting a whole community, who come off the page fully clothed - along with some interjections from Odette's mother - long dead - and, er, Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt.
There's sadness in the book - well, it's a life after all - but there are some delightful touches of humour too. I won't spoil it for you, but there's a death which produces a moment of black humour which left me with tears rolling down my face. It is, too, as I discovered to my delight, a book which reads better the second time around (a rare indulgence for a reviewer). You'll find yourself nodding wisely and finding a little more depth to the story.
So, how does it stack up against The Help? Actually, I think the answer to that is don't even try. There are some superficial similarities - you'll spot them pretty quickly - but The Supremes is a good book in its own right. But perhaps the greatest similarity is that the books are both keepers - the ones you go back to and reread just for the pleasure of it. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If this book appeals to you and you've already read The Help then you might like to try I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore at Amazon.com.
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