Out of The Easy

Out of The Easy - Ruta Sepetys This review appeared first on Oh, Chrys!Having not read a Sepetys work before, [b:Out of the Easy|11178225|Out of The Easy|Ruta Sepetys|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1339784547s/11178225.jpg|16102692] was certainly new territory for me. It follows the aspirations of Josie Moriane, the daughter of a haughty prostitute, who wants a way out of the Big Easy (New Orleans), preferably a route to the Massachusetts university she dreams of. [b:Out of the Easy|11178225|Out of The Easy|Ruta Sepetys|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1339784547s/11178225.jpg|16102692] was not a gripping read, though it certainly could have been.An advocate of historical fiction, I must commend Sepetys for providing the young adult audience with a book that couples history with an engaging setting, easily understood with modern eyes. Portraying a vibrant city during a turbulent decade of mobster rule, racism, and class hierarchy emulates an intrigue even infrequent readers of historical fiction may find surprising. Her descriptions of the sordidness of the French Quarter, and the debaucherous lifestyles of its residents are interesting to read of as well. A melting pot of culture, New Orleans simply provides a refreshing and rich backdrop.Sepetys' characterization is well done. Josie is somewhat an admirable heroine. She has a strong sense of loyalty, and is ingenious. A lover of books and a dutiful bookstore clerk (and brothel cleaner), she often quotes Dickens and Keats, which will definitely get bibliophiles even more enthused about the popular literature of that decade. Her resilience is unlike other recent YA heroines, allowing [b:Out of the Easy|11178225|Out of The Easy|Ruta Sepetys|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1339784547s/11178225.jpg|16102692] to stand apart from the majority of its shelf-mates She is not easily flustered by the opposite sex, nor is she looking for any sort of romantic involvement. Her priority is her education, her ticket out of the Easy.Cleaning a brothel and interacting with prostitutes everyday typically complements a loss of innocence, but Josie is so angelic. She has not a foul word to say, and even when confronted with powerful temptation she triumphs. This archetype is not often seen in contemporary reads, where heroines and heroes are flawed. However, I feel that her child-like innocence endowed her with gullibility This is evident in the mother-daughter relationship. She has a nearly-unjustifiable affinity for Louise. I know that sounds excessively harsh, but Louise, is so unloving towards Josie. Louise's insatiable materialism and sensuality are at the forefront of her life, and she often blames Josie's existence for deflating her Hollywood dream. She victimizes her daughter, and gives her absolutely no encouragement.When Jesse, the charming mechanic that many French Quarter ladies adore, begins showing interest in Josie, I was wary. Shockingly, he does not pursue her for her physical self, or for what tricks a whore's daughter is believed to inherit. Rather, Jesse is such a concerned, genuine lad. He embodies a friendly charisma that Josie needs in her bleak life, though it does take a while for her to adjust.Other than Jesse, there is the intelligent, quaint Patrick who assumes ownership of Marlowe's Bookstore as the state of his father, Charlie deteriorates. He has known Josie since Charlie began to assist her when she was younger. Not only are Patrick and Josie close childhood friends, but they are united by their love for literature. Patrick, however, holds a secret that can test the bonds of their friendship and potential romance.Willie, the madam of the central brothel, is a domineering woman who despite her harshness truly cares for her employees and Josie. With her sleek hair and red kimonos Willie made me curious, especially when considering the secrecy surrounding her business and personal life. I also enjoyed reading of Cokie, the brothel driver, who Josie could confide in about anything. He encourages Josie to further her education, even going out of his way to make sure she does.Despite this cast of affecting characters, the plot of [b:Out of the Easy|11178225|Out of The Easy|Ruta Sepetys|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1339784547s/11178225.jpg|16102692] is where I found most of my reading experience to crumble. Often the book strayed, leaving me to wonder what intentions the authors had. Sepetys juggled many events, crushing readers and eventually leading to plot deficiency. Just as I was becoming engrossed in a specific event, I was distracted by another. For example, the murder mystery of Mr. Hearne, which could have been more thrilling has the dull consistency of flickering bulb. Had she developed plot events more meticulously, the book would have been enthralling, especially considering how an overactive plot can reduce the authenticity of theme portrayal. For example, prostitution - a chunk of the novel - is superficially portrayed. Writing about such a scorned practice, proves difficult for most writers, so it was no surprise seeing Sepetys plaster it with the "tart with a heart" trope. It is as though each prostitute is endowed with a hidden, even saint-like integrity. Now, I am not bothered that Sepetys portrayed them in a tasteful manner. I just wish she portrayed them creatively.As for Sepetys' writing style, I was very much satisfied. Her literary allusions were abundant, and reminded me of some classics I have yet to read. The imagery she conjures is authentic, transposing readers from the squalid streets of the French Quarters to the aftermath of a wild night at a brothel. I find that her method of writing is well-suited for this genre, and I appreciated that she transcended the stereotypical verbosity that has dubbed historical fiction as "boring".Though its first quarter enthralled me, [b:Out of the Easy|11178225|Out of The Easy|Ruta Sepetys|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1339784547s/11178225.jpg|16102692] is a book that I think was ultimately stifled by a crushing plot and a censorship that exuded from Josie's pure character. Sepetys' characterization is great, but this can easily be dismissed if you are looking for a fascinating, gritty read.