mrs piper’s reviews

Two more lovely reviews from our Data Manager! – Admin

The Smell of Other People’s Houses, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

This book is set in 1970s Alaska and has four teenage narrators, whose lives are interconnected in a number of ways – some quite coincidental. I thought the setting was original and vivid, concentrating the traditional Alaskan way of life (there is a lot of hunting and fishing – you might find bits of the book tough if you’re squeamish).

I would have been happy read a book about any one of these characters or their stories, which were all interesting in different ways.  I thought, though, that there was too much crammed in here. Four characters, dealing with everything that the author can throw at them: teenage pregnancy, alcoholism, parental divorce, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness….. Having them all in the one book was too much and meant that we never got to learn about any of the characters in greater depth.


Beck, Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff

As other reviewers have said, this book starts off quite brutally.  Beck is an orphan who suffers a great deal of hardship and abuse in his early life.  Eventually he escapes to freedom but he is damaged and scarred – both physically and emotionally.  The story takes us on his journey, showing how he gradually finds his way back from the trauma of his childhood and finds life again.

This book was beautifully written and made me cry twice when I read it!



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