Out of the Easy is a historical fiction novel by Ruta Septys (best known for writing Between Shades of Gray)
Its 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.
She devises a plan to get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
Tropes for Out of the Easy:
- Abusive Parents: From the glimpses of Josie's past, we see that Louise was this, as Josie would recall how she said harsh things to her and backhanded her. Likewise, Louise doesn't hide the fact that she resents giving birth to Josie and has even stolen from her.
- Alcoholic Parent: Louise.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: While not necessarily a girl, as she isn't that young, Josie's mother Louise, who's dating an abusive gangster by the name of Cincinnati.
- Alliterative Name: Willie Woodley
- Ambiguous Disorder: Marlowe has some kind of dementia
- Animal Motifs: Josie seems to be associated with birds if the image above is a clue
- Brainy Brunette: Josie
- Children Are Innocent: A then seven year old Josie, however, she does seem to grasp some bit of wrongness wirh her mother.
- Child Hater: Ten years earlier, Willie said she "didn't like children" but she does warm up and takes on a motherly role to Josie.
- Converse with the Unconscious: Later,Josie does this with Willie, except the latter is actually dead (or close to it).
- Daughter of a Whore: Josie's mother is a prostitute and she often has to deal with the stigma thereof
- Disappeared Dad: Josie doesn't know her father, then again, her mother is a prostitute and, knowing how birth control there was, this trope is explainable.
- Everyone Has Standards: Willie, if her feelings towards Louise are a clue, as she lets how she feels about them be no secret.
- The '50s
- Gender-Blender Name: Willie's name, to a then seven-year old Jo's confusion.
- Heavy Sleeper: One of the prostitutes in Willie's brothel is one of these.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: The prostitutes that work in Willie's brothel. Louise, isn't one of them.
- Kick the Dog: See the entry below
- Jealous Parent/ Resentful Guardian: Louise, if the quote below is a clue:
- Youre lucky I didnt throw you in a trash barrel, you little ingrate. I sacrificed everything for you, so dont tell me what I am. Im hurting you? Oh, thats ripe. You ruined my body and tied me down during the best years of my life. I could have been famous. And you say Im hurting you?
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Willie isn't the nicest person around, however, she does care for and acts more of a mother to Josie than Louise does.
- Parental Substitute: Willie plays this role to Josie. In all fairness, Josie's real mother can't even be called one.
- Red Light District: The French Quarter of New Orleans or, rather, that part of the French Quarter
- Teen Pregnancy: Louise seems to imply that Josie was this, as she states she was pretty at her (Josie's) age before she had her, at the same time, however, she might have been a little older.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Nieces" for the girls that work in Willie's brothel.
- Vague Age: Willie, as indicated by the intro chapter, might have been in her fifties ten years earlier. We also have Louise and, assuming she had Josie as a teenager, that would place her in late-thirties or early forties
- Wham Line: "My mother is a prostitute."
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Josie is a deconstruction, given how her mother Louise is.
- Wretched Hive: 1950s New Orleans, which is Truth in Television, as it is crawling with crime and gangsters. However, the French Quarter seems to be the nicest part.