Tuesday, 11 June 2013

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

Putting yourself in other women's shoes is always interesting - and if you're male, don't let that put you off, because the author is a man, and he has managed to fill those female shoes spectacularly well!  Earl's All-You-Can-Eat is a diner in Plainview, Indiana and three of it's regulars are The Supremes - not the pop group, but three African-American women who have been sitting at the same table at least once a week since the 1960s, when the owner gave them their joint nickname. They've watched their town through the diner windows, they've exchanged news and gossip, they've told each other their secrets. Well - some of their secrets.

Now Odette has cancer, and is supported throughout her chemo by the other Supremes, piano-playing Clarice with her handsome, strong and cheating husband; and by Barbara Jean, recently widowed and drinking a lot.  During the course of the book, Odette takes some of the chapters and tells the story, whilst the rest of the chapters are written in the third person. An oddity, but doesn't make the book unreadable at all. And it hops back and fore in time, from school and teenage, to the present as the women get into their 50s.

These woman are the best of friends, the kind that support each other through thick and thin, who know what makes each of them laugh, and cry. There are more secrets to be discovered as you read on. Some may shock, some make bring laughter and tears. There is a description of a wedding that was the best tonic I've read for years because it is soooo awful that you can see every bit of it and just know what the next bad item on the agenda is going to be. Sex is mentioned - not lots, but enough to be real - especially the whoring lapdancer who arrives at a revival meeting to be saved but not before she has given the assembled congregation a blow by blow description of what she was up to at the moment she was moved to attend the service and ask for redemption!   And there are the ghosts..... that follow Odette around because she is not long for this world.  Her Mama, Barbara Jean's husband, Eleanor Roosevelt......

The back of the cover says "perfect for fans of The Help; Steel Magnolias, and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe". Maybe, maybe not. But it's a wonderful read, whether you are black or white, male or female. You'll meet some great characters too, besides The Supremes. I laughed out loud a few times, and a shed a few tears too. Maybe you will! Read it and find out, but most of all enjoy this lovely read.

[copy of my Amazon review]