This book is an unadulterated delight from start to finish. It's the story of three women: Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean, who become friends as children growing up in Indiana and manage to remain so through years of heartbreak, struggle, and—thankfully—a whole lot of laughter. Dubbed “The Supremes” in their younger years while hanging out at Big Earl's buffet restaurant, aptly named The All-You-Can-Eat, the three friends rely on each other when the challenges of life threaten to overwhelm them.
The Supremes do dish themselves up plenty of trouble right along with the food on the buffet line at Big Earl's, but the novel never sinks too far into darkness. Moore's writing is way too witty for that. With hilarious antics from an overzealous cousin planning her daughter's wedding, a turban-clad would-be psychic peddling bogus fortunes, and—my personal favorite—the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt (who likes to hit the sauce from time to time), there's never a dull moment in Plainview, and The Supremes are often right at the center of it all.
I listened to an audio version of this book, and I highly recommend you do the same. Not one, but TWO fabulous readers bring the characters to vivid life. The jokes struck me as even funnier hearing them aloud. I would be driving to work or fixing my hair in the mornings or any number of other boring daily tasks, but in my head I was belly-up to the table at Big Earl's, listening in on all the gossip of the day.
And dear Lord, some of that gossip is juicy. I just about fell over laughing when Clarice's famously religious mother sets up shop outside a strip club and yells through a bullhorn, “You are a child of God! Stop what you're doing!”
This is the kind of book I would buy as a gift for people I really, really like. It gave me more warm fuzzies than even the loudest, most bedazzled Christmas sweater. If you're anything like me, you'll want to put it on, wear it around, and have your picture taken in it.