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Anila, King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls

The Smell of Other People's Houses

"The Smell of Other People's Houses" follows the life of four different characters: Ruth,Dora,Alyce and Hank. Each lead different lives whilst they wish for different things. Ruth wishes to be remembered whilst Dora wishes to be invisible. Alyce wishes to leave but Hank is already running away. The chapters are from different perspectives of each character, furthermore, the author leaves you at a cliffhanger after each perspective as she moves on to another character's; which I found extremely effective, as it encourages you to read on. As well as this, I would say the author was in definite control of the plot, despite there being so many different stories she knew how and where she wants one to story to end while she begins another.
The author's style is very subtle, she gives hints as to what might happen further on, but leaves everything to the reader's imagination, thus creating a unsettling atmosphere as we try to guess what comes next. Another aspect of her style that really appealed to me was her ability to refer back to the title in her work.Not necessarily to the full title,rather references to smells that characters associate with certain items and people.
I particularly enjoyed this book as I felt I was there with the characters in the book. Their stories were beautifully narrated in depth which made it much easier for us to understand their feelings. Moreover, it wasn't just the way that the characters were presented which made me so fond of this book, it was the way in which all the stories were intertwined with each other. Even if some of the links between characters were not as significant as others, you still sense the connection between them.
This story is definitely credible as the characters lead lives, that are not completely normal but realistic and without doubt could happen to anyone. Having grown up in Alaska Bonnie Sue-Hitchcock, she was able to put their realities into context, which makes this book so much more believable.
If I were to recommend I would recommend to anyone above the age of 13, as there is mild swearing and mature themes - such as teen pregnancies and abuse.
In summary, this book is absolutely wonderful, it's a worthwhile read and a real eye-opener as to what a small world we all live in. I would 100% recommend!

Posted on: 29th March 2017 at 10:10 pm

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