title: the smell of other people’s houses
author: bonnie-sue hitchcock
genre: ya-historical fiction
“Because sometimes you just have to hold on to whatever you can.”
what it’s about:
it’s alaska, 1970. this is a story about the lives of ruth, dora, alyce and hank. each of them live a very different live. they all have to struggle. they all want something different. but somehow their lives get connected and everything changes.
what i think:
one thing you need to know about me: i love alaska. i am totally fascinated with it and it’s pretty much number one on my bucket list. i want to visit it very soon. why? i don’t know why! i just know i need to. so when i heard, that “the smell of other people’s houses” takes place in alaska i had to read it. i didn’t even know what it was about. i just picked it up and i am so glad, that i did.
this is a book about several characters and it is told from the perspective of these four characters. throughout the book the different stories they are telling start to make sense in the bigger picture und you get to know them better. you get to know their life, their struggles, their problems, their wishes. and in the end everything comes together. i love these kinds of stories, where i slowly fall in love with each character and in the end it’s all part of a big story. that’s my thing. and the writing of bonnie-sue hitchcock only made it so much more special. i really flew through this book. i read it in one sitting, because i was captivated by the stories and the characters. i loved the writing details, especially the different smells, that were integrated so well into the story. but also all details about alaska, about the culture, about the living situations. it was executed so well and i am so happy, that i have read this book.
ruth is the main protagonist and her life is not easy. i immediately took her to my heart, because i was feeling bad for her. she struggles with her life and when one mistake changes everything, i was so surprised about the consequences, that i almost couldn’t believe it. it broke my heart, especially in the end. but i also came out with hope, because i know that she is strong and that she’s doing fine.
dora is a character i wasn’t the biggest fan of. it took me pretty much until the very end to warm up to her. it just clicked, when i read about her past and her story and i understood why she is the way she is. it broke my heart and when i think about the scene, that changed my feelings towards her, i still get goosebumps. it’s such a strong scene, that i will think a lot about in the future.
alyce’s story was kind of my favorite because it brought alaska so much closer to me. i loved what she did in the summer and just imagining being her, makes me happy. i couldn’t understand her actions at all times, but she had her reasons. i am just glad, that she experienced, what she experienced, because otherwise she would be miserable. and that way i also had my fun and it was just so cute.
hank got to me right from the beginning. he is strong on the outside, but i knew, that he is very weak and emotional on the inside. he was somebody i wanted to hug, because i wanted to make him feel better and take away some of his burdens. i am glad how his story turned out, because it made me emotional but also happy. i had to laugh and cry and that’s a thing i love most. books that can do that are always a win win for me.
so, as you can see, i liked the characters and the writing and the setting. it was a perfect combination and a wonderful story. i had my problems with dora, that’s why i can’t give this book full five stars, but all in all i really, really enjoyed it. it’s a wonderful novel, that really moved me.
what you should know:
“the smell of other people’s houses” by bonnie-sue hitchcock is written in multiple perspectives and each character has his or her problems. be aware, that topics like abuse and grief are discussed in this book. all stories come together in the end. it’s a moving book, that’s emotional and will take you by surprise sometimes. the writing is beautiful and if you are interested in alaska and different smells, then you’re going to be a big fan of this book.