Rating: 4.5 / 5
The Supremes at Earl’s All You Can Eat Buffet is a thoughtful story about a black middle class neighborhood in Indiana. The Supremes consists of three black women, Odette, Barbara Jean, and Clarice, and their multi-decades friendship. While they grew up together and have stayed in close proximity, their lives are distinct and divergent. They gather weekly at Earl’s All You Can Buffett Odette has always been physically intimidating. Not considered attractive, she more than makes up for that by being sharp-witted and fiercely loyal. Barbara Jean has been gorgeous, but had a rough childhood. She married a wealthy bachelor, Lester, but has spent the past decade mourning the tragic death of her only child, Adam. Clarice is a talent pianist. Back in the day, she showed real promise at a future as a concert pianist, but shelved her dreams to marry Richmond. For years, she has known that Richmond has been unfaithful, but has always been in denial, even though it seems that everyone in town already knows.
The Supremes at Earl’s All You Can Eat Buffet moves between the past and the present to weave the story of the Supremes, with all the joy, heartache and loss that comes with life. Their lives are complex and nuanced in their own way, but the love and affection for one another has persevered.
There was a lot of heart and soul with this book. While there were heavy issues, the story was told with humor and love. In fact, I think humor was a great coping mechanism for the Supremes in helping them to get past difficulties. Moore also touches on the fact that while the mothers of the Supremes are no longer alive, they each played a pivotal role in the Supremes’ lives. And although they are no longer alive, their influence is readily apparent, and the reader can see whose maternal influence was detrimental.
Odette was a great narrator. She was engaging and possessed a strong personality. I commend Moore on his debut novel, especially since it involves three female protagonists. He does a great job developing the characters, and showing the complexities in relationships between women and their significant other. This was a great first effort and I will definitely pick up his next book.