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Izzy, John Mason School - Abingdon

The Smell of Other People's Houses

The Smell of Other People’s Houses is a beautifully written book, which describes the stories of four main characters: Ruth, Dora, Hank and Alyce. Throughout the book, the characters become entwined, each getting cuttings of another character’s ribbon, which symbolises how their stories are entangled.

The book consults many issues, such as abusive parents and teenage pregnancy, but in an elegant way. I liked the part when Ruth left the nunnery she was sent to by her Gran, and the way she slowly became conscious that she was still alive after having her baby taken from her; this part was wonderfully written, and described the bleakness of Ruth’s mind, then how the colours of life outside the nunnery seeped in.

However, near the end, the tale became very sentimental and everyone was hugging and crying and, personally, I found this a bit annoying. Apart from this, the book was amazing.

I also liked the way that, in the prologue, Ruth described the deer’s heart as being all beat out, and then at the end, after she had realised that she was still alive, she said that her heart was not all beat out. This makes it seem like it’s gone in a full circle, but each character has grown and developed so much since the beginning, and at the beginning none of the characters knew each other, but at the end they were united.

This book also teaches the reader not to judge people based on what you have heard or what you see at first, as when Dora visits Ruth’s house, she finds that Ruth’s Gran isn’t as evil as she was made out to be by Ruth and her sister, or when Ruth’s mother puts Dora’s best friend in a coma, and Dora blames Ruth without knowing the full story.
I would recommend it to slightly older readers as it has some violence, but I think that, really, everyone should read it.

Posted on: 10th April 2017 at 01:46 pm

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