“My mother’s a prostitute. Not the filthy, streetwalking kind. She’s actually quite pretty, fairly well spoken, and has lovely clothes. But she sleeps with men for money or gifts, and according to the dictionary, that makes her a prostitute.”
Out of the Easy follows the story of Josie, the daughter of a prostitute, trying to leave New Orleans for college far away, in Massachusetts. She works in a book store and as a cleaner at the brothel in the French Quarter where her (frankly horrible) Mother works. On New Years Eve, a man enters the store where she works. He leaves an impression on Josie – he treated her with respect that other’s didn’t. But that night, he turns up dead, and Josie is determined to find out why.
Set in 1950s New Orleans, Sepetys captures the period well and shows the brutal truth of New Orleans, aswell as capturing the class and gender divide very well. Josie, working in a brothel and not at college, is set apart from the others in New Orleans.
Out of the Easy also had a fantastic set of characters. Josie, our protagonist, was intelligent and passionate and determined. She set her eyes on Smith College and she fought, and is fighting still. She’s also sort of badass.
“The only reason I’d lift my skirt is to pull out my pistol and plug you in the head.”
Oh, and she loves books.
She put up with her horrid Mother, who stole from her, lied to her and put her in harms way, as well as leaving her with a crap load of debt. Willie was another favourite character. She was seemingly cold hearted, mean and vulgar, but is shown to care deeply for our Josie. Cokie was another favourite, such an optimistic, kind-hearted man. Patrick and Jesse were also good characters, and I’m glad that the romance was not at the forefront of the story, but Josie’s development of self.
The writing was great, with a good pace and a strong plot. A must read for any fans of Historical Fiction.