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Freya, Impington Village College

The Smell of Other People's Houses

The Smell of Other Peoples Houses is set in 1970s Alaska and is narrated by four different characters. I liked that Hitchcock took inspiration from her childhood for the Alaskan setting because her descriptions were clear and I could picture what the surroundings looked like. Also it was good that this book had an original setting even if the plot was a little tedious and confusing.

One thing I noticed about this book is the characters names. They are quite unusual which made it easy to mix up who was who, especially with the changing narrators.

The book begins with Ruth, a fifteen year old girl whose mother sent her away to live in Fairbanks after her father died in a plane crash. Her mother is ill so Ruth lives with her uncaring, Catholic Grandmother and her younger sister.

Dora’s abusive, alcoholic father is in prison but her mother can’t properly care for her so she lives in fear at her friend's house until the day her father is released.

Alyce is a dancer trying to please her family by throwing away her passion to help her father and uncle fish at sea.

Hank is running away with his two brothers. They stow away on the boat but there's no one to help them.

Overall I didn’t like this book because Ruth left me feeling exasperated over her childish stupidity and I think the ending should have been less abrupt to conclude the boring, dragged-out plot. I think that this book just wasn’t for me as I didn’t like these real life issues being dealt with badly.

Posted on: 3rd June 2017 at 09:55 am

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