Out of the Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Rated S for secret keeping and
Sometimes we set off down a road thinkin’ we’re goin’ one place and we end up another. But that’s okay. The important thing is to start.
It’s 1950 and the French Quarter of New Orleans is simmering with secrets, especially around Josie “Jo” Moraine. Known as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, she’s been working at a bookstore, saving up to get out of the city and onto a fresh start where nobody knows her. That plan gets thrown upside down when a man ends up dead and her mother has something to do with it. Suddenly tied up in the middle of this, Josie is caught between truth, lies, and temptation and must find her way through it as she comes to the ultimate test in finding herself and getting to that person.
This book had once the most catchy, stunning, best start I’ve read in a long time. “My mother’s a prostitute. Not the filthy, streetwalking kind. She’s actually quite pretty, faily 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.” Time pieces aren’t typically my jam, but have I ever told about how easy it is for me to get swept away in the city of New Orleans? LOL. Beside the point, I found Sepetys’s writing dainty, fragile with a sharp edge. Utterly beautiful like cursive writing done artfully. And I say artfully because I’ve seen horrible cursive…AKA mine. A tale like this has to be like, I believe.
Who hasn’t dreamt of a fresh start with a new name in a new place? I know I can’t be the only one. LOL. That idea was one of the things that attracted me to this book and I was swayed into a story I didn’t expect. Beautiful imagery with a time that was filled with wonder, grit, and possibilities. Sepetys didn’t let a single corner of the era and the people go to waste. The diversity had me floored. More, I was amazed at how such a lascivious place can also be so dark and dangerous. The yin and yang. and yet, Jo balanced in it so well, like a professional tightrope walker. This was the familiar story of finding oneself but from
The introductions of characters were subtle yet ever so memorable. Aside from Jo, Jesse and Willie were the best. Jesse, the quiet and mysterious guy with edges of hometown comfort and sweetness. Wille, the hard-as-nails madam of the brothel Jo helps clean that you don’t feck with. The dame that has a pistol under her pillow and in her purse. I also swear that she’s Jo’s grandmother because she cared more about Jo that her own mother. She wen tto her graduation and even celebrated her eighteenth birthday. However, it was never confirmed let alone addressed so, it remains in the land of theory. And then there’s Sweety and Cokie who not only rip my sweet tooth out from how generous and kind and filled hope they are but also chisel a chip out of me with how they are placed as reminders for segregation and injustice for colored people of the time. Still, their spirits were unshakeable and no matter how low they were treated there was nothing but strength emanating from them. Two characters that really work the heart over and make you wish people like that existed more.
Side Note: Reading the cost to attend college in 1950 almost made me cry. $3000. You crying too? Why is it so expensive to be alive let alone try to extend your knowledge for a better future? Don’t even get me started on ow expensive it is to be dead. Fecking funeral costs…smh.
The relationships each held their own independence and were so well-defined. I especially loved the relationships Jo held with Jesse and with Cokie. Jesse was the ultimate swoon–worthy sweetheart. I might have drooled over him a little. And strangely, it wasn’t the hot and bothered fire that I felt, though I’m very sure he was capable of provoking it. It was how tender and kind he was. I was swept away. And Cokie, just the sweetest man on the planet. He gave all he had for Jo, being the best family ever for Jo, aside from Willie. I just don’t have enough words for that man. I just want to hug him.
Beautiful imagery, rich in luxury and in the dirt where the lower class resides. And the book shop that Jo works at…ugh I miss working at the bookshop. I loved it there. This book took me back to the positive memories of that. This was also only one place of a few that really stood out. Sepetys has a real talent fo detail and world vision. There wasn’t anything lacking and she never lost pace or left an arc open.
Blown away. Depth and imagery unfounded. The many different layers to this story was so intricately woven and never missed a step. I enjoyed this so much more than I imagined and my heart even skipped a beat on occasion. I highly recommend this one.
“Decisions, they shape our destiny.” (Forrest Hearn, p. 23)
“Let me just tell you, I have no interest in knitting argyles. And all of those little books about domestic servitude? Straight into the trash.” (Charlotte to Jo, p. 51)
“She’s really superstitious, but that’s New Orleans.” (Jesse, p. 133)
“You may think some things slide by me, Jo, but they don’t. I’ve been in this game a long time, and my mind is like a trap.” (Willie to Jo, p. 155)
“A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.” (Jo, p. 230)
More to come soon…
Song Today? Lust For Life by Lana Del Rey ft. The Weeknd
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!