In 1970 Alaska, you grow up slightly differently than other people.
The Smell of Other People's Houses is the tale of four different teenagers whose lives intertwine in the stark yet beautiful backdrop of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Ruth has survived a family tragedy and has a secret that will send her away from her friends, possibly forever.
Alyce wants to stop working on her father's fishing boat and become a dancer but when her and her dad witness something extraordinary while fishing one day, their lives change forever.
Dora is living day to day, trying to escape the brutal reality that is her drunken, abusive father. She finds solace in her friends and other people's parents but she isn't sure how much longer she can last.
Hank and his two brothers decide to run away from Fairbanks but nothing ever really goes to plan.
I loved this book, the dialogue is fast yet dreamlike and even though I have no idea what it was like to grow up in Alaska a decade before I was born, I still connect with the setting. I grew up in a small Canadian town of 250 people, There were hunters, drinkers, drug abusers, racists that hated First Nations and African Canadians, and mixed into that were people that would break the Earth in two for you if they could.
It was rough and beautiful, dangerous and serene, boring and thrilling all at the same time. I think Hitchcock has completely nailed the way a town like that can seep into your bones and never let you go. Highly recommend it!