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Mimi, Fortismere

The Smell of Other People's Houses

The Smell of Other People's Houses is a great book. You see the points of view of four very different people (Ruth, Alyce, Hank and Dora) in very different, but dire, situations, each one thinking the others are better off. Their stories intertwine and collide creating an interesting and valuable story. The story of Alaskans during the Statehood Act is an often overlooked or ignored one, at least in our country. However, this book demonstrated the story clearly, but also imaginatively. Giving the reader characters to be scared, worried, happy and upset for, whilst giving you the facts. The plot has clarity and strength, it is logically placed, though I do think it could be improved, by placing a few more memories into it, that reflect the present goings on. I enjoy the fact that each section, season, is started off with a poem, and I think that, though many would ignore them, they are a nice touch, adding a touch of rhythm, or repetition to the book. The characters and the stories are, to a level, believable, however at some points it seems too predictable. For example, I find the ending is too happy and perfect, almost completely stereotypical, on the other hand, there are moments which are almost completely unexpected and take the reader by surprise. Throughout the book, each and every one of the characters matures and develops mentally, their treatment of each other becomes more and more fair and their beliefs become more and more individual, showing that they are becoming their own person. This book is based around which region you are from, therefore language and behaviour specific to that is vital, and the author delivered: the younger characters do not realise their difference-which is common, the older characters hyperbolise it. The dialogue and narrative within this novel are brilliant, changing exceptionally between each character, meaning that the reader experiences in the most detailed and vivid way. I have very few complaints about this book, one of which is aforementioned, I also believe that it should be concluded with some facts or extra information about this time period. This book was, however, a thrilling and hard to put down novel.

Posted on: 11th April 2017 at 08:13 pm

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