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Fatema , Plashet School

The Smell of Other People's Houses

Sadly, I’ll have to admit that I am the type of person to judge a book by its cover, AND title. I know. (*Ugly cries in confession*.) So my first impression when I picked up this book was something along the lines of, “The smell of people’s houses? Meh, mine only smells of chicken and my sister’s nappies. That’s hardly fascinating.” Furthermore, I will also have to confess the fact that I am not a fan of books that are based on history (even though I chose History for GCSE…) Because of this, imagine the look on my face when I saw the numbers ‘1958-63’ next to Ruth’s name in the prologue.

Um, yeah.


But MARK MY WORDS, for someone who exclusively borrows books with the darkest, bloodiest covers and only has the capability of withstanding realistic or thrilling plots (no hate to fantasy authors,) then this book is for you. And funnily enough, this had become one of my favourite books of all time. Congrats Bonnie-Sue!

Anyway, long story short, the story revolves around four predominant characters: Alyce, Ruth, Dora and Hank. Each character holds a personal story which is narrated in first person throughout the book (the chapters are divided like this, according to character.) Slowly, the story for one character begins to make connections with another, which eventually leads to all the characters meeting up all in one place near the end of the book. The setting of the story is based on Alaska around the 1960s, whereas the theme of the book is heavily based on fish and the sea (but don’t worry, this doesn’t affect the main plot. For those who don’t like fish-themed books.)

Personally, I enjoyed reading this book quite a lot as it was heavily focused on family, something I have always loved to read about. In addition to this, I found most of the character’s thoughts and ideas very realistic and even relatable from time to time. For example, when Alyce fears to go to the ballet audition as she didn’t want to disappoint her father. The relationships between the characters are also very realistic, because their reactions based on certain situations were unique for each person, but it wasn’t something completely off the hook that would leave you confused. However, my favourite part was how the plot was constructed. The way the author made connections with the characters that smoothly lead to the ending left me in fascination. It also teaches you a few morals along the way. Maybe you can infer them too if you 'read between the lines'.

Overall, I really really REALLY enjoyed reading this book and would strongly recommend anyone to read it! I mean, come on, why wouldn’t you after my awesome review?

Just kidding ^^

But seriously, you need to go read the book, asap.

Posted on: 27th May 2017 at 10:25 am

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