Title: Out Of The Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Penguin Books
The plot isn’t overly complex. Josie is the seventeen-year-old daughter of a prostitute in New Orleans. She wants to escape but becomes entangled in a murder investigation. The plot is linear with lots of twists and turns that will keep you reading to the last page.
Josie tells the story in intimate, touching detail. Her struggle and her survivalist nature come through loud and clear, and her narrative voice is so strong that we feel what Josie feels. She’s a sharp character that will make you laugh but also have your heart hammering in your chest in those in-the-action moments.
You know you’ve read a fantastic book when you struggle to pick a favourite character. I think I’d have to choose Willie (with Josie’s mother as a close second. But I love Josie too… It’s a three-way tie!) Anyway, Sepetys crafts a great spectrum of layered characters, each changed by the time the story concludes.
Quality of Writing:
What can I say? The writing is sharper than a shard of glass. I can’t add more than that. Perfection.
Some of my personal favourites:
- “‘Well, I got school. I read. I cook, I clean, and I make martinis for Mother.'” (5) (Josie at seven-years-old)
- “‘Honestly, Louise, a seven-year-old bartender?'” (7)
- “She always said she could make tea in a tornado.” (210)
- “I looked at Willie, dressed in all black, with chianti lips and eyes that would send a snake slithering back into its hole.”
I’ve never been to New Orleans and that doesn’t matter. I get a vivid image of the French Quarter with description sliced into scenes rather than overwhelming the reader with pages of description. The brothel, the book shop, John Lockwell’s office – they all feel like real places and we really envision the picture that Sepetys is trying to paint.
I’ve not sure what more I can add. Flawless writing, a street-savvy, funny narrator and a story that you’ll find hard to forget.
NOW SKIP TO THE GOOD BIT…
- Likeable narrator
- Love-them and hate-them characters
- Vivid setting
Books You May Also Like:
Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys – for more of the same sharp writing style
The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene – for another survival story that will stay with you long after you read it