Why do you think the author included her as a character?
Join Date: 08/11/11
Join Date: 06/18/12
That's a good question and I wondered that myself. I do not know much about Eleanor Roosevelt, but I do know that we she was active in social issues during a time when there were not many out spoken individuals, especially people as well known as Mrs. Roosevelt. Perhaps she was included since the book does deal with some of the racial injustice's of the time. Or perhaps Mr. Moore just thought it would be funny to have a deceased former first lady hanging around for comic relief.
Join Date: 08/11/11
I like your answer. If my American history doesn't fail me, I do recall her concern with social issues. I don't recall her "drinking" problem...comic relief-I would have places in the Women's Temperance League!
Personally, I enjoyed her presence in the novel for whatever reason:)
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Eleanor Roosevelt was extremely active in both women's and civil rights. She was the first First Lady to play a real role in social issues. My guess is that this is the reason the author included her. I do feel that the way she is portrayed as a complete drunk is disrespectful and outweighs the supposed comic relief.
Join Date: 04/22/11
Join Date: 07/17/12
I imagine the author meant it as some sort of social/political commentary, but I have to admit that if we are going to accept the idea of ghosts just popping in and out of our lives willy-nilly, then it makes a twisted sort of sense to accept that now and then the odd "I don't know why in the heck I am seeing that one" ghost is gonna appear.
Join Date: 12/04/11
Join Date: 10/25/12
I wondered why it was Eleanor Roosevelt who showed up to forshadow that an actual death was going to occur. Was she truly included to make a social statement? Was she present as a racial statement? I also would like to ask the author why he chose Mrs. Roosevelt.
Join Date: 04/12/12
In the beginning, when Odette first saw her mother and Mrs. Roosevelt, I just thought it was funny. I also thought it would be in character for Eleanor to have made friends with Odette's mother because they were both unconventional and strong women. So I thought, yeah, they might be friends in heaven. But then she became the symbol of death. That I am not so sure about... I have a great regard for Eleanor Roosevelt as a woman and I just didn't see her as a drunk or the bringer of death... so that just seemed off to me through the whole book. I, too, would like the author to give us some insight on his thinking.
Join Date: 04/15/11
The ghost/spirit of Mrs. Roosevelt was a clever bit of whimsy. It allowed certain attitudes to be discussed without having to fully develop another "character" since Mrs. Roosevelt is a well known historical figure - even if she may not have behaved at all like the book character. I didn't see her as a bringer of death - but as a spirit that appeared in times of trouble or turmoil - which often included a death.
Join Date: 12/07/12
I thought having a famous person as mama's new best friend after death was good but I kept struggling with the question of why mrs. Roosevelt. I think something else might have worked better like having Whoopie Goldberg as herself who could bring her real life knowledge and experiences as a celebrity and tv spokesperson to the story. I suppose the author had to pick a dead person but someone known to be a bit more of a person who lived outside the rules of society like Annie Oakley would have been more convincing.
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Join Date: 12/22/11
I have a couple of thoughts on why?
- Mrs Roosevelt was a strong-minded outspoken woman and the same can be said of Odette's mother so you can see them being "friends" or hanging with each other.
- Also Mrs. Roosevelt was a friend of Civil Rights and Black people
Join Date: 10/15/10
So many wondered about the inclusion of Mrs Roosevelt that we contacted the author to ask him. He wasn't able to reply until now due to being on tour, but has now responded.....
Many readers have asked me why I chose to have the ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt appear as a character in "The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat". At readings, I'm asked about her more often than any character other than Odette, the central character of the book. Early readers in Germany found her so interesting that the German translation of the novel was released with the title MRS. Roosevelt "Und Das Wunder Von Earl's Diner" ("Mrs. Roosevelt and the Miracle of Earl's Diner"). The primary reason I included Eleanor Roosevelt as the companion of Dora, Odette's mother, is that I truly revere her. She was an astonishing and inspirational woman who spent a lifetime speaking out for human rights and extending a hand to poor and oppressed people, both inside the United States and around the world. And she devoted herself to these important and noble causes at a time when doing so was not just unpopular, but dangerous.
But anyone who has read "The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat" knows that the
noble humanitarian I admire is not the same Eleanor Roosevelt who appears in the novel. The character in "The Supremes" is a ghostly troublemaker. She drinks to excess. She loves bawdy stories. She climbs trees. My fictional Eleanor Roosevelt came about because I love the idea that, perhaps, when you are one of the major forces for positive change during your century, your reward might be to spend eternity doing any little thing that strikes you as fun.
Why Eleanor Roosevelt? Because I wrote a novel about friendship that proposes that dead people are enjoying the afterlife, unseen, here beside us. And because I believe if any spirit deserves the pleasures of an afterlife of unbridled good times and wildness if she chooses, it's Mrs. Roosevelt.
--- Edward Kelsey Moore
Join Date: 04/20/11
Davina, thank you for tracking down the author and sharing his answer to this question with us. Love his answer. It makes perfect sense. At almost 81, I recall Mrs. Roosevelt from my early girlhood on into young adulthood. I've read several biographies of her and admire the way she stood up for those who needed a champion. I like the idea espoused by the author, that in Heaven she is getting to do fun things that were not available to her during her time on Earth. Yes, she is one of my heroes also.
Join Date: 04/15/11
I just read the author's response and realized once more that often as readers we try to put more into the use of a particular character than the author ever really had in mind. Eleanor Roosevelt, the President's wife was a strong, influential woman with great humanity. The ghost character in the book is in many ways a parody of the real person, yet she also exerts a strong influence over those who can see and hear her.
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After reading the author's official reply, I feel as if the question I posted previously (Do you think Eleanor Roosevelt is a character because of her resignation from the DAR when they refused to allow an African American singer to perform in their building) could have been on track. I like the author's idea of people really enjoy the after life. I don't think the afterlife is quite like that- but then again.. who the heck knows for sure! ? Family members and I half heartedly joke about deceased family members playing golf in heaven, etc.
Join Date: 08/11/11
First, like so many others, Davina - thank you so much for all you do for those of who love to read and who
appreciate and seek the opinion/thoughts of crave the written word! I can't imagine what Book Browse would be, without you, your hard work, and care. Mr. Moore, oh that my reward for living the good
life might be..." to spend eternity doing any little thing that strikes me as fun!" What a fabulous answer!
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