The Smell of Other People's Houses

The Smell of Other People's Houses

by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock


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The Smell of Other People's Houses 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book should be at the top of every bestseller list. The writing is outstanding, the characters are deep and real, and you will fall in love with them and their cleverly intertwining stories. There was no real magic in this book, but it made you believe in everyday magic, a little. It was short and to the point, and I never wanted it to end. Everyone should be talking about this book. Put it in the hands of anyone you know. I'll be re-reading it for the rest of my life.
PinkMooseReads More than 1 year ago
I checked this book out from Overdrive based solely on the cover, and without reading the description. Sometimes it’s fun to just grab a book because it looks pretty. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock is a very good story, weaving together multiple lives into a layered and intriguing story. Set in Alaska in 1970, things are considerably different than they are now. Four teenagers who seem to have nothing in common will come together unexpectedly. The way that each character, and their story is introduced is delicate and well written. Without giving too many details, I just want to say that the story is enjoyable, and well written. The way that the characters’ stories tie together is done extremely well, and, like most well-written stand alone books, ties up all the loose ends beautifully. Read all of my reviews at my blog
Mel-Loves-Books More than 1 year ago
“I’ve realized over time that houses with moms in them do tend to smell better. If I close my eyes, I can just barely remember my mother’s wildflowers in their whiskey bottles. The very distant scent of my parents lingers in my brain, as they laugh and twirl around in the kitchen. Deer blood on my father’s hands tinges all my memories of them — their skin, their hair, their clothes. The smell of too much love.” The title of this book, The Smell of Other People’s Houses, is enough to draw me in. I have always been touched by how different scents can immediately bring you to a different time and place. This book fulfilled its title. It was meaningful, and poetic. The characters are all connected by the town and time they live in, and I loved seeing it all through their different perspectives. It was filled with stories of redemption and inner strength and told in a very beautiful way. I am giving this book 4.5 stars. I recommend it for a time when you want quick read that has a lot of meaning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the story and this author's writing style. I recommend this book highly and look forward to reading more by her.
Lisa-LostInLiterature More than 1 year ago
This story was set in the 1970’s, which made me a bit hesitant. It also takes place in Alaska, which made me all kinds of excited!! I hadn’t heard a thing about this book before receiving it in the mail… and I was instantly intrigued. I went in blind, and it ended up turning out pretty good. The multiple narrators in this story was such an added bonus!! There were four here, which usually feels like too many. But not this time! I loved all of the different voices and how they all weaved this intricate web of a story. Why the average/good rating? There were a few slow, slightly boring spots, which took away from my enjoyment a bit. Overall though, a very good read that surprised me quite a bit. (Thanks to Wendy Lamb Books for the review copy!)
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
“Houses with moms in them tend to smell better.” I loved how all the characters were tied to one another in this novel yet there were four separate stories. The stories are unique in their setting and their storylines and yet, they all come together. There was not one story that I liked better than the other for each of them took me to a place in Alaska where their world was totally different than my own and their circumstances and problems suddenly became mine. From smelling Ray, for he smells of cedar to feeling the frozen fish between my fingers, the author words gave rise to a world unlike that of my own. I love novels that can whisk me away quickly and I can become someone else for a while. Hitchcock did a superb job with her choice of words and her choice of characters in this novel. I didn’t find this novel to be an emotional read, it was more of a story being told to you by the author with great adjectives so you can sit back and imagine the world that she had created for you.
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
“The Smell of Other People’s Houses” is an engaging and unique literary novel that is a joy for all of the senses. What I loved most about the book is the descriptions of the sights, sounds, and obviously, the smells. They are so vivid that you feel as though you are standing in the characters’ places. Everyone knows that different houses have different smells, but the author made the smells match the personalities of those living in the houses. It’s difficult to explain, but you will see what I mean if you read the book. There are four main characters, and the story is told from each point of view. It’s very interesting to read how they interpret one another (including the smells of the others’ homes) and how their stories weave together. I also need to say that this is a wonderfully diverse book! The author grew up in Alaska and you can tell she has an intimate knowledge of the various people who make up the land. There is nothing but love for the many cultures, while also not being afraid to point out some of the systemic issues present in the area. “The Smell of Other People’s Houses” is a beautiful book meant for those who enjoy reading about the lives of others. It’s meant to be savored, not devoured, and therefore will probably be best suited for those not looking for a fast-paced plot. I can say that it is a story that will stick with me and most likely be read several more times. This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very unique story.
Reading_With_Cupcakes More than 1 year ago
I have to say, I wasn't really sure what this book was going to be about/be like based off of the title. The Smell of Other People's Houses? Ummm okay...but the cover was gorgeous and grabbed my attention. So I gave it a go. HOLY WOW. The Smell of Other People's Houses contains the stories of 4 different characters. Each with their own heart wrenching tale. First there is Ruth. Ruth is harboring a secret. One that she is afraid to share. Then there is Alyce. Alyce just wants to dance, but she has to choose between dance and what she thinks her father wants. And there is Dora. The poor girl. She thinks she has managed to get away from the hell that was her life, but did she really? Then finally we have Hank who has run away from a bad life with his two brothers in tow. Each tale is different. Each character takes their own path. Yet some how all of these characters stories get entangled with the others. This story is filled with so many feels. You cannot help but feel for each character individually. There were points where I just wanted to hug them and be there for them. I was that drawn in. Not only are the stories for all the main characters great, but a lot of side characters get stories filled out too. I am very impressed with how Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock was able to put it all together and to keep them all straight. I will warn you that this story is told from 4 different viewpoints. So you will have 4 different narrators. I only warn you of this because I know there are those out there that do not like having so many narrators to story. This being said, I did not have difficult following along with each character. I felt each had their own unique voice. This is a story that you want to pay attention to as you read it. It is the kind of story where you will miss something if you don't. I am sure that when I finally do a reread of this beautiful tale I will find so much stuff that I didn't even realize I missed. Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock is a fantastic story weaver. My Rating 5 Stars This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. Find more of my reviews here:
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this short little book. This book first grabbed my attention with its title. I loved the title and the purple cover is just beautiful. The story inside the cover was equally wonderful. I haven't read a lot of books set in Alaska so the setting was a big draw for me. This was one of those books that I didn't want to put down and I read most of it within a day. This book is told from multiple points of view. I really enjoyed each character's voice almost equally in this book. I think that the way the book was put together really built up my need to know what was going to happen to everyone. I loved the fact that this was not just another teen romance. In fact, there really isn't any romance in this book at all but it full of emotion. One of the main strengths of this book is the descriptions. I love that scents are included in some of the descriptions. The book isn't packed with description of different smells but they are occasionally mentioned and help give a nicely rounded complete picture of the environment. I did find myself wishing that the time period would have had a stronger feel in the story. There were moments that the 1970's setting of the book was clearly illustrated. There were other times that I almost forgot that the events take place during a different time period. I really liked that this book wasn't afraid to deal with very difficult topics. I am actually quite surprised that this one little book decided to focus on so many issues and that it ended up working so well. Poverty, teen pregnancy, and abuse all have a place in this book but I was still able to find hope in the story. It is really quite amazing that this story could have such a positive ending. I would highly recommend this book to others. It was a really engrossing story that I found hard to put down. This is the first book by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock that I have read but I would not hesitate to pick up her work in the future. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Children's - Wendy Lamb Books via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
ReedsReadsReviews More than 1 year ago
First things first, the language in The Smell Of Other People's Houses is absolutely stunning and it beautifully illustrates the complexity of the issue at hand. When I was reading this book, I felt like I was actually there while simultaneously watching a carefully crafted masterpiece unfold before my eyes. Each word matters, each sentence is a piece of art that cannot be overlooked - just like the book itself. The Smell Of Other People's Houses is the story of four Alaskan teens in the nineteen-seventies whom are thrown together through their various secrets and who must learn to live with what they have been given. Each of their individual stories was astounding, not to mention the gorgeous complexity of their lives when they are suddenly thrust together. Ruth, Dora, Alyce, and Hank - each has a secret or something they are running from, and each must learn to rely on someone else to bear the weight of their struggles. The development of the characters, hell, the development of the plot throughout the book as a whole was breathtaking. It was simply stunning. Watching these teens -these real people -work through issues that they shouldn't have to and yet everyone can connect to in some way, brings forth one of the most profound stories in Young Adult fiction I think I've ever seen. I knew nothing of The Smell Of Other People's Houses when I got it - no synopsis, no prior mention, nada. I went down the rabbit hole that is four teens in Alaska without knowing what I was getting myself into - and boy am I glad I did. In all honesty, I think not knowing made the experience all the more powerful. I had no prior expectations, no idea what it was about - all I knew was that the cover was gorgeous and the title made me giggle. I have to say, this book is one of those rare, inevitably captivating stories that will grab you by the ankles and drag you kicking and screaming into these teen's lives. It will make you stop and think about what your home means to you, it will make you question everything you think you know - and it will make you realize that everyone, and everything, has a story, too. One thing I really liked, besides the obvious, was the amount of information I learned. I don't know how much is true and just what is fictionalized for the plot of the book, but the complete other-worldliness of Alaska and the different ways these people live just blew my mind. From the very first page, and I'm talking the Prologue here, I found myself undoubtedly and impossibly enraptured with the differences. For example, right off the bat Ruth is explaining how her favorite cut of meat is Backstrap - something I've never heard of - and she describes how her father carving the deer is just as graceful as her mother curling ribbons on presents. Just think about that for a second. Not only is there a beautiful juxtaposition of language, but the whole process of carving a deer carcass within the home has become so normal to her that she compares it with gift wrapping. It blew my mind, to be honest. That isn't the only example, but there are far too many for me to ever accurately explain. Just... read it and see for yourself.