The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Historical fiction, Women’s fiction, Cultural, African American
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***Note: Even after some research, I’m still not quite sure whether The Supremes should be classified under Historical fiction or Contemporary Historical fiction, since it spans between the 1960s and the present. I’ve hereby listed it as under Historical fiction but if anyone knows which genre’s the one it should rightly belong to, do let me know. Much thanks, and read on! ***
My reading stamina is probably waning. I’ve grown tired of the constant action and running amuck from previous novels much quicker than my younger self would have. And so, I picked up a light historical fiction. What could be better than a heartwarming, poignant light read, right? Right.
For four decades, Odette, Barbara Jean, and Clarice have spent every Sunday at Earl’s diner, talking and reminiscing about things present and past, but more often than not, reading between the lines of events unspoken. Be it a cheating husband, or alcoholism, or a fatal illness, the Supremes have got each other covered. The story fleets between past and present Plainview, explaining how things have came to be and how other things such as friendship and love always occur at unexpected places and times, as if they have a mind of their own.
Moore is an excellent writer. He makes one feel so at home with the characters, from lovely Big Earl (God bless his soul), to nasty, self-righteous Minnie (Damn it, why can’t she just swing her turban somewhere else?!), as if one’s a part of the Sunday crowd at the diner, or even better yet, The Supremes’ other best friend. The novel talks about important and pervasive daily events without ever judging the situation nor pointing fingers to determine whose-fault-is-it. Such are contemporary traps all too easy to fall in, especially when dealing with tricky issues such as conservative religion and marriage set in the 1960s, no less.
Women’s fiction can sometimes be a genre that I dislike reading. They can be ditzy and bimbotic, more often than not superficially bringing up serious issues that have no intention of being properly addressed or challenged. They dumb down the female characters and glorify the male-would-be-love-interest-and-potential-savior, as if women do not possess the capacity to solve their problems.
In this, I really appreciate that Moore has not ‘man-handled’ any of the issues, trivializing them or marking them as ‘women issues’ when they are not. Moore’s maturity and acknowledgement of the issues “women talk about when they get together” as real issues and problems, sealed any pesky frizz women’s fiction can potentially generate. He recognizes that issues such as infidelity is not the woman’s fault, and finding courage to leave a cheating spouse and staying by said decision is not a sin women have to bear. He also understands that being struck down by a potentially fatal illness is scary, and even the bravest can feel fear, even those born in a Sycamore tree. The patient then, is as brave as the family and friends who go through the recovery process together with the ill. Only as one, with one mind and soul, can they come out stronger and better.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Have you read the book? How did you felt about it?