The Other Typist
by Suzanne Rindell
Why did you choose this book? I’d heard a lot about it and saw it on the ‘new book’ shelf
When did you read this book? July 2013
Who should read this book? readers of period fiction interested in the 1920s
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?
I really wanted to read this book! I’d heard a lot about it, and the fact that is is set during prohibition interested me. Rose would have been about my grandmother’s age, and I’ve heard rumors that perhaps Grandma frequented speakeasies when she was in her youth. I even have a beaded necklace that she is said to have worn in her ‘flapper’ days! The book has a long reserve wait, and I had other things in my pile waiting to be read, so I was not in a hurry to get to this one. But when I saw a copy on the ‘new book’ shelf at the library, just waiting to be checked out, I just couldn’t pass up the chance to jump ahead of the crowd!
I really did like this book....right up until the ending. I’d read other reviews that implied the ending was terrible, but I decided to ignore them. I don’t know that I would say this is a ‘terrible’ ending. Most of the times when I don’t like an ending, it is because the story does not end the way I wanted it to; for example, the girl chooses the wrong guy. But this was not that kind of ending. I can’t say too much without ruining the story for you, but I can say that this ending left me feeling like I’d been run over by a truck. I was left shaking my head and asking myself...’what the heck just happened here?!’ I am totally confused by the ending.
Outside of the ending, I DID like the book. It gave me a glimpse into what it must have been like to live during prohibition. It also made me wonder WHY there was ever a prohibition, since so many seemed to either dislike it or ignore it. Even the cops were not enthusiastic about enforcing prohibition.
It did take me awhile to adjust to the writing style. The language used a lot of unnecessarily big words that made me wish I’d read it electronically, so I could just click on the word to look it up. And the phrasing was a bit ‘formal’ at times. Sometimes with writing like that, it really bothers me, but in this case, I think that the phrasing was the voice of Rose, and not the author, and this gave me some insight into Rose’s character and who she is (well....at least until I got to the end!)
The end is really confusing, at least for me. I also have a couple of friends who’ve read it and had the exact same reaction. If you’ve read this one and can explain what happened, lets discuss it!
My Rating: ★★★1/2 3-1/2 Stars