Book Review: The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

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Title: The Smell of Other People’s Houses
Author: Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Publisher: Faber and Faber Ltd
Date: April 7th, 2016
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: From Publisher, for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Alaska, 1970: growing up here is like nowhere else.

Ruth wants to be remembered by her grieving mother.
Dora wishes she was invisible to her abusive father.
Alyce is staying at home to please her parents.
Hank is running away for the sake of his brothers.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled. Because if we don’t save each other, how can we begin to save ourselves?

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s extraordinary, stunning debut is both moving, and deeply authentic. These intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America’s Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare and wonderful talent.

vrpca

Review:

What you need to know about this book:

– The Smell of Other People’s Houses is a novel that came into existence from four different short stories.
– It follows four different perspectives, all written in first person, all points of view are teenager’s.
– This book takes place in Alaska in 1970.
– Four characters of this book are telling us different stories, but they are all intertwined at some point.
Even thugh this is a novel, you can read this book in two different ways:
1. From first page to last, like every other novel;
2. You can read only a certain POV and you will still have the complete story about the character who’s POV you’re reading.

– I think Ruth’s story was the most interesting one, but Alyce’s story was the most enjoyable to read.

What you should be warned about:

– There is some strong violence described in this book.
Not every POV is an interesting one (at least I found Hank’s story to be dull).
– This is a literally fiction that follows four teenagers, and it does not follow the pace most ya novels have.

What I liked about this book:

– Writing style is great and poetic.
– This book covers some serious topics in a realistic way and the writer did a great job describing those situations (violence, teen pregnancy, suicide attempt).
– The cover is so pretty and the title is also beautiful.
– The writer presented us a story she wanted to tell in a bit more then 200 pages and didn’t write about unnecessary situations just to make her piece longer.

What I’d like to change in this piece of work:

– Even though I knew this book was taking place in Alaska, I didn’t have a strong feeling I was reading about Alaska so I guess I’d like it if it was described in a stronger way.

Overall, this was a quick read and different from books that I usually read.
Even though I wasn’t fully satisfied with it I think many people will enjoy reading this book.

I would still recommend it to readers who’d like to read something that is taking place somewhere different then most books do and to readers of ya who’d like to start reading something out of their comfort zone, since this is a (historical) literally fiction that follows teenagers.

3

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10 thoughts on “Book Review: The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

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