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Folksy, The Young Reading Nation (YRN)

The Smell of Other People's Houses

"Sometimes you can be inserted into another person's life simply by witnessing something you were never really supposed to be apart of". This is one quote which perfectly sums up this book. The smell of other people's houses is a captivating, lighthearted and beautifully written novel by Bonnie sue Hithcock which allows readers to delve into and explore the interconnected lives of four contrasting teenagers. We journey through time to 1970s Alaska where we meet Dora, Alyce,Hank and Ruth. we are there to bear witness to their lives and behold their struggles as they come of age.Although the demons which the characters confront are different, they are all very apparent. Dora is a pessimistic girl who faces the troubles she has with her abusive father,wishing that she was invisible to him. Alyce is a ballerina aspiring to go professional but fears that if she leaves home her already broken family foundation may deteriorate. Therefore she has troubles with thinking for herself and is drawn between pursuing her dream of becoming an accomplished ballerina or staying at home for the sake of her parents. Hank is the sole male voice;eldest of three brothers. When his mother remarries he feels that life with his stepfather is far too unbearable making running away his only option.My favourite protagonist is Ruth;one of the more prominent characters. A sixteen year old girl raised in a strict catholic home who's urge to be remembered lands her in a position where she has to come to terms with new and old wounds. Overtime,they face their demons head on leading to their own self-discovery.
What I found interesting about this book, was its divide into four seasonal sections. Autumn,Winter,Spring and Summer. In my opinion, this really helped the flow of the book and understanding of the teens journeys as I felt much more connected to the characters. Watching them grow from stubborn individuals to finding love and creating new and unexpected friendships all in the space of a year. Furthermore, the way in which the chapters alternate between characters made their contrasting views and opinions very clear. As you continue to read the book it really illustrates the teens intertwining relationships.
From this novel I've learnt to understand other people's perspectives on issues but also how one person's actions can repel and in result bring people together.This book is a must read for all teenagers as.Despite the difference in time, this novel is very relevant to all of us as it reflects certain situations which we may go through such as self-discovery,realising our purpose and knowing who we strive to be. It'll definitely give you an insight on ways to mature "because isn't that how forever happens-instantly?"

Posted on: 8th June 2017 at 04:04 pm

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