*REVIEW* Out of the Easy
It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.
Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
Well, this one was definitely not my cup of tea. I've never really been into historical books, but that really wasn't my issue with Out of the Easy. As much as I tried, I just couldn't form a strong emotional connection to the characters and while I was interested enough to read to the end to find out all that happened, I really wouldn't have been upset no matter how things went. That generally isn't a good sign for me when it comes to books.
Out of the Easy introduces us to Josie, the teenage daughter of a prostitute in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Josie has struggled her entire life with the prejudices that come from being the daughter of a local whore, but has worked hard to ensure that she will never be forced to make the choices that her mother has made. Living independently since she was 12 years old, Josie is counting down the days until she can flee New Orleans once and for all, escaping her sordid-by-association past.
Before Josie can put her plan into motion, a high-profile murder takes place on New Years Eve and Josie is dragged into the middle of the investigation. Josie finds herself knowing more than she should, and then a shocking betrayal puts Josie right in the line of fire. Will she make it out of New Orleans alive, or will the French Quarter claim another victim? Death, mystery, betrayal, and heartbreaking choices abound in this novel by Ruta Sepetys.
I really struggled with rating this book because there is a lot of good in it... Sepetys did a wonderful job of making me feel like I was right in the middle of 1950's New Orleans. I feel like I got to know some of the characters really well, and it was a book that I found very easy to keep on reading. That being said, I still ended up rating it 2 of 5 stars on Goodreads, meaning I thought it was just ok.
I think it was hard for me to really get into this book because I just found so much of it SO freakin' sad. Josie's mother was just plain AWFUL and it's heartbreaking to think that a 12 year-old girl was forced to grow up under those conditions. And while I really liked Cokie, Sadie, and even Willie, it still made me sad that those were the people Josie had. What a sad childhood! And while I really liked Patrick and Charlie, that situation was just plain sad too. Sadness is overflowing in this book!!
But in fairness, this book is probably a VERY accurate depiction of life in the French Quarter of New Orleans back then. Historical books have never been my thing, so it may not be all that surprising that I didn't love this book. And while I doubt I'll ever re-read this one, I am pleased with where things ended up. Josie? That girl is going to be all right. She's a tough cookie and I think she'll find a way to overcome her past and carve out a new future.