Monday, September 07, 2015

Review- Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Goodreads Summary:

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 to 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.


Author Ruta Sepetys' Out of the Easy had been sitting on my shelf since a very long time. Then out of the blue, the book was constantly on my mind for some reason, so I decided to finally pick it up and read it. I had only seen the book around before and heard great stuff about it. Having no clue what it was actually about, I went in without any expectations whatsoever, other than the fact that I was hoping the book would blow my mind away. Thankfully, the book was intriguing, mysterious and unique enough to do just that. I can't really say that I was surprised by the same, because from the very beginning, I knew that I had confronted a really nice story. 

Out of the Easy is the story of literature admirer and bookstore caretaker, Josie, who also happens to be the daughter of a prostitute who works for a very chic, quirky, strong and powerful women by the name of Willie. Josie also works for Willie wherein she does cleanup at the brothel. For me, having these three women at the core of the story made the book very women-centric. What was most admirable was that each of them was so unique in their own way and had a personality that was quite contrasting to the others. Having said that, the men in the story were very unparalleled as well. So we go from Cokie, the driver, to many men who visit the brothel and get nicknamed based on the place they come from to Charlie, book owner and author to spooks who give chills... Everyone was very unique and well developed as characters. Josie had two guys in her life, Patrick and Jesse, both of whom were astoundingly attractive and commendably smart. 

Even though Out of the Easy is essentially historical, there wasn't much of the socio-political history of the late 1940s and early 1950s other than the mention of a few wars here and there. What was really historical and what made it very charming was the description of the old world from the houses, buildings and exteriors to the roads, cafes and restaurants. Another positive was the mystery added which kept the story very gripping and extremely fast-paced as well. I thoroughly loved every second of the story and I was curious to read and know more. To top it all off, Ruta Sepetys' writing was so lovely and had a very rapidly poetic feel to it, and made the book very mysterious and dazzling. 

While the ending of the story was rather simplistic in my eyes and I would have liked the mystery to take a stronger hold since it seemed like it was the most important aspect after a certain point, I still liked Out of the Easy more than enough. Josie was a lovely and smart girl who made for a very brave and admirable character whose company I loved since page one. Her love for literature was easy to relate to. She is the heroine of the book, and honestly, there wouldn't be any problem if there were no guys in the story, because Josie was the hero too. This was her book and her story. A dazzling tale of the dark side of a town, the dark side of power, the unsteadiness in relationships, ambition, strife and everyone looking for their own advantages, Out of the Easy is a very lovely and gripping story. 


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