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Leila, de Stafford School

The Smell of Other People's Houses

"The Smell of Other People's Houses" is a beautiful, gritty novel about the life in Alaska. It begins with a gripping description of Ruth's childhood before moving to her Gran's and the trauma of losing her parents. This chapter is dotted with the use of smell, an unusual choice of sense, however very effective and engaging as it allows you to see the world through Ruth’s point of view. The story continues and the four perspectives converge and you begin to see the bigger picture of the community that surrounds “The Smell of Other People’s Houses.” The use of four very different outsets on life encourages you to delve deeper than face value as each character suffers from different struggles, however the characters fail to see this in each other. Dora’s story in particular shows how in modern world money is viewed to be the saviour of everything and is of the greatest worth. It does not solve her problems however and I think this resides with many people in our current society as we all have a tendency to believe sometimes that having more in the way of money and belongings is the route to happiness. Dora talks how she wishes her money could buy her a place in her friend’s family because that is what is of greatest worth to her: love and belonging. The story that I personally empathised the most with was Hanks: a boy searching for his brother. The horror and fear he feels create a powerful and realistic character who is trying to keep his family safe and together. In the final scene, the characters find themselves all in the same place, although for very different reasons, their lives all tangled up in each other’s. The ending is in stark comparison to the suffering and pain found earlier in the novel and ties up the loose ends of the tale, bringing everything to a neat finish with a happily ever after.

Posted on: 2nd May 2017 at 03:21 pm

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