Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1159
A Beautiful Look at Difficult Lives in Alaska
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
What I Loved:

I was very excited about THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES when I first read the synopsis and the setting- 1970’s Alaska! I also love books with multiple points of view and so I couldn’t wait to dive in once I received my copy.
Mar-Sue Hitchcock writes a beautiful picture of Alaska. Our four main characters are found in Fairbanks, Southeast Alaska, and Canada. Over the course of the story we see a fish camp, a convent, a fishing boat, and a ferry. Even with multiple main characters and multiple locations, Hitchcock weaves together a beautiful story about the meaningful ways people’s lives intersect.
Though beautiful, we also see the difficulty of Alaska living and she doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. She writes about poverty, abusive relationships, teenage pregnancy, and alcoholism in ways that feel real and not overdone. Yes, these characters deal with these topics on a daily basis but these things do not define these characters. They are able to help one another overcome.
I especially loved the character Hank, maybe because I myself am an older sibling. The burden he feels for his younger brothers is juxtaposed beautifully with his overwhelming love for them. Even when they are separated in the midst of very difficult circumstances, Hank is able to keep moving to reunite them. He was kind and gracious while still being tough and guarded, characteristics I was very drawn to. I also really loved Alyce who struggles between pursuing what she really loves and her sense of duty and obligation to her family. All four characters are written so fully, so completely, that their voices and stories jump off the page.

What Left Me Wanting More:

While the world of Alaska is written beautifully and clearly, I found myself confused about which main character I was reading at the start of every chapter, especially the three female characters. I was also often confused about who secondary characters were, especially since they popped in several of the main characters stories even when the main characters themselves weren’t interacting. I think they were meant to serve as strings between the characters but in some cases in confused things further.

Final Verdict:

THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES is a beautifully written story about the meaningful ways people’s lives intersect in the incredible and unique setting of Alaska. The story isn’t afraid to address difficult topics while reminding us that most important thing we can have in our lives are other people.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Girls With Razor Hearts
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Make me a girl with a razor heart… ...
Moonscript
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"It is said that Darkness is empty and whatever vanishes...
The Lucky Ones
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, This Is How It...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl...
Meet Me at Midnight
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
They have a love-hate relationship with summer. ...
Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this epic sequel to Once & Future, to save...
11004295_10203571569113600_1962266189_n.jpg
 
3.8 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
*****Best YA Book & Author of the Year***** The...
We Unleash the Merciless Storm
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Being a part of the resistance group La Voz...
The Everything I Have Lost
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
12-year-old Julia keeps a diary about her life growing...
Salty, Bitter, Sweet
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A slow-burn romance in a cutthroat kitchen! There’s more...
Brown Girl Ghosted
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Violet Choudhury may be part of the popular clique...
Defy the Sun (The Offering Series, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this electrifying YA sequel to Beware the Night,...
Something New
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Cassie Briggs never thought she’d be married at age sixteen—especially...
Crave
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy....
I Love You, Daddy (Peter Rabbit)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
An adorable rhyming Peter Rabbit book that celebrates dads everywhere....
Morning, Sunshine!
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
As we all wake up, the outside world bustles with...

Latest Member Reviews

Bible Stories for Boys
 
5.0
"If you have a young boy at home and are looking for a special book just for him, check this..."