Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Other Typist

The Other Typist
Suzanne Rindell

First Sentence
"They said the typewriter would unsex us."
Publisher's Description:
New York City, 1924: the height of Prohibition and the whole city swims in bathtub gin.

Rose Baker is an orphaned young woman working for her bread as a typist in a police precinct on the lower East Side. Every day Rose transcribes the confessions of the gangsters and murderers that pass through the precinct. While she may disapprove of the details, she prides herself on typing up the goriest of crimes without batting an eyelid.

But when the captivating Odalie begins work at the precinct Rose finds herself falling under the new typist's spell. As do her bosses, the buttoned up Lieutenant Detective and the fatherly Sergeant. As the two girls' friendship blossoms and they flit between the sparkling underworld of speakeasies by night, and their work at the precinct by day, it is not long before Rose's fascination for her new colleague turns to obsession.

But just who is the real Odalie, and how far will Rose go to find out?

Dear Reader,

"The Other Typist" is one of those novels that holds your interest mostly from all the small details the author has included. Rindell does a lovely job of describing things that almost feels like you're watching this as a movie instead of reading it. She brings you to New York during prohibition and does this with a variety of settings. The main character, Rose (a typist for a NYC precinct) befriends a rebellious girl, Odalie (the new typist at the precinct) who enchants Rose so much she finds herself experiencing things she would have never before had she not met Odalie.

The story revolves around the prohibition era, right when the Volstead Act was enacted to ban the sale and use of alcohol. This alone brings the level to an exciting and dangerous time, history that is hard to imagine. The main character is a goodie two-shoes that wouldn't even think of picking up a drink or visiting a speakeasy... that is... until she meets Odalie. For whatever reason she becomes enamored with Odalie and can't seem to steer clear of her crazy ways. I still haven't figured out why this is and this might be my biggest gripe with the book and maybe the author wanted you to come to your own conclusion. Without giving away too much of their escapades, we follow these two in the rich underworld of the speakeasies and get to feel what it would be like to disobey the law with a simple cocktail.

Prohibition and speakeasies are only the icing on top of this novel though. You may think reading about a precinct typist might sound boring but you'd be very wrong. It made me look at this profession in a totally different way and I now realize how much power they actually held. This was not a profession for men but the typist of a precinct made society think you had to be a woman with a very strong stomach. I never really understood why, back in the day, everyone thought or depicted females as such delicate creatures? What makes a female from that decade so fragile? I believe society had a hand in this with a little push to force girls to act this way, even if they didn't fit that mold. Rindell shows us two very strong female characters that have extremely different personalities but don't seem fragile at all. I love this about the book!

Overall I give this a four out of five for the informative imaginings and the extremely descriptive and vivid colors the author gives everything in this book. I would think anyone who likes a little history with a fun plot line would enjoy this.

Happy Reading,

P.S. Check out what Arianna thought of this book!
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