To the best of my knowledge, this is ‘my’ only book about New Orleans. It’s a good one. This review originally appeared in March 2013.
“I enjoyed this book so much! Out of the Easy is the new book by Ruta Sepetys, published this week. In her first book Ruta proved how much she knew about being a starving Lithuanian, whereas here she is a right madam.
Is it OK to feature a brothel in a YA novel? I mean as the main thing the book is actually about. I think it is. Ruta writes awfully knowledgeably about it, too.
Set in 1950 in New Orleans, Out of the Easy feels really fresh. By that I mean it’s in no way a standard story for young readers, either in setting or in plot. The first chapter where we meet 7-year-old Josie and her hooker mother is one of the more captivating first chapters I’ve come across in a long time.
And the rest of the story, set ten years later, keeps the pace and the promise. Josie has long looked after herself, since her mother is incapable of doing so, or even caring that she doesn’t. There are no regrets at all. Instead Josie has a makeshift, but well functioning family around her, from the local madam and her driver, to the author and owner of the bookshop where Josie sleeps.
She is hoping to rise from all this and make something of herself, when she gets caught up in the murder of a rich tourist.
This is James Dean and Tennessee Williams, and we might have met the characters before. But the story is new, and it’s crying out to be turned into a film. I loved it!”