Since I've always been intrigued by the 20th century (I've always wanted to experience Woodstock, the Beatles, the 80s, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and all the other awesome things that (sadly) occurred way before I was born), I liked that the book was set into the 1950s and I could just smell that there were fascinating things waiting for me among the pages of Out Of The Easy! So I was more than eager to devour it.
Josie, the main character, is a daughter of a whore, and everyone knows that. What they don't know, is that Jo wants to climb out of the gutter her mother dragged her in, and she is doing quite well for herself - she is an intelligent young woman who loves to read and who wants nothing else than to leave her old miserable life behind her and go to college. In the first quarter of the book we get to know Josie, her background, the people in her life and their life in New Orleans. Then, suddenly, the plot thickens as Josie finds something under her mom's bed that wasn't supposed to be there.
As I dived into the book, I was impressed by the vivid descriptions and colourful characters, and the heroine was just what I liked. Josie was strong and intelligent, witty and sharp-tongued. But there were times when all of that didn't come through - at crucial times - when it was more "tell" rather than "show". "Josie is smart. Josie is cunning. Josie is this and also that." Yes, Josie was intelligent, yet at the same time she was so darn clueless I wanted to shake some sense into her! It was as if she was standing still in the street and the world was rushing past her, eventually running her over. Some of her actions were so unbelievably stupid! Josie made silly choices she clearly didn't think about properly beforehand. For example, she knew Mr. L obviously liked the girls young (looking), yet she still complied with his "wishes" when he suggested she visit him wearing high freakin' heels. What did she think he meant by that? Well, he certainly didn't want to play golf with her. Doh! She was too naive and I expected her to be more tough because of what she experienced living with her mother (who was a total b*tch, by the way. I wanted to drag her by her hair all the way to Hollywood - or better yet, have horses drag her there. They say it's a painful way to travel. She would more than deserve it.)
Her mother really was the worst kind of a mother. There were times she got me so furious I swear the steam was coming out of my ears! The author did a great job of writing a character I loved to hate. And I adored all of the characters, I loved how the plot was build around them, thus emphasising their colourfulness and their interesting features.
The one thing that did bother me and (for all I'm concerned) could've been left out - is the romance element. There was a love triangle that wasn't really a love triangle, and Josie was so dispassionate she almost didn't seem capable of love (at least to me - and it would come as no surprise; she had a terrible relationship with her only parent who couldn't care less about her. Literally couldn't.) Josie was friends with both of the boys and once again, she appeared totally clueless about them liking her. Even I didn't get the impression that there could be something cooking between Josie and what's-his-name, the guy she worked with/for (I'm awfully terrible with names). And poor Jessie - we got to know so little about him! I just wish there was more told about both of the boys. Although, funnily enough - I liked them both and if I had to choose between them, I'd save myself the trouble and keep them both.
To sum it up, Out Of The Easy was almost what I hoped it would be. It had that flair I was looking for, but there were still some things I would change, and people whom I would like to know more about. I liked what I read, but I wanted more. Just a little bit more. I'm curious about her other books, I hear Between Shades Of Gray is quite good.