OUT OF THE EASY by Ruta Sepetys
OUT OF THE EASY tells the tale of Josie Moraine, the 17 year old daughter of a prostitute in 1950’s New Orleans. Sepetys gives a clear picture of the brothels, gangsters, and night life of the city while showing the life of a teen who is willing to work and sacrifice for something better. Josie dreams of entering an elite college in the East and leaving her loser mother far behind.
Peopled with a madam who brooks no foolishness, a driver who cares for Josie, a famous writer broken by crime, two honorable male friends, prostitutes who vary from pigtailed to mute to kleptomaniac to sweet and kind hearted, to gangsters who murder and threaten to maim, to a mother who doesn’t deserve the term, to one prominent businessman who is murdered and one who seeks to bring about Josie’s downfall, the characters are clearly drawn with their speech and actions showing their character.
The plot is tight and carries the story quickly along. You will like Josie and root for her to succeed in her aspirations and her choice of boy friend.
Although billed as a young adult novel, this work of historical fiction is not for anyone younger than 14 or 15. Some of the situations and phrases are not for younger teens. This is a good book for cross over to the adult reader. Book groups will find much to discuss, especially the very obvious class distinctions and snobbery. Crime, “juice” loans, college admissions and cost, friendship and loyalty, discrimination and perception are all addressed here.
Those who read and loved Sepetys’ previous book - BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY – will not be disappointed in this new and very different book.