Wednesday, March 17, 2010

House Rules, Jodi Picoult


Jacob Hunt is a teenage boy with Asperger's syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject — in his case, forensic analysis. He's always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do...and he's usually right. But then his town is rocked by a terrible murder and, for a change, the police come to Jacob with questions. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger's — not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, flat affect — can look a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel. Suddenly, Jacob and his family, who only want to fit in, feel the spotlight shining directly on them. For his mother, Emma, it's a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it's another indication of why nothing is normal because of Jacob. And over this small family the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?


Sara's Review:

Jodi Picoult is one of my all time favorite authors, so I couldn't wait to read her newest book! As always, her writing is beautiful and thought provoking. The story is told from several points of view - Jacob, his brother Theo, his mother Emma, and the detective investigating the murder. I am not normally a fan of multiple POV stories, but this one is movingly crafted. While I would never be so bold as to say I understand the challenges of autism after reading this book, I certainly feel much more aware of them. She does an amazing job of helping the reader understand how it might feel to live with it daily.

That said, I wasn't crazy about the actual storyline. It felt kind of lame and slow moving. The thing I love about Jodi Picoult books is the huge twist in the last 10 pages. I was completely blindsided by the twist in her last novel, Handle With Care, and was expecting more of the same here. Unfortunately, I saw the 'twist' about a quarter of the way through the book. I found the end to be unsatisfying, to say the least.

Lackluster twist aside, I would still recommend the book. And all her other books as well!

Grade: B


Mrs. Jones said...

I haven't run out to buy this yet, but I figure I will soon enough. I have all her other books. Glad to know that her writing is still great, but I am a little anxious as to how the plot will unfold. Slow books bore me! However, I am hoping her writing will make up for it. I'll let you know after I read it (hopefully very soon!)

Buy or get from the library? I have all the others, so..... that is the question!

Sarah said...

I have to completely agree with this review. I just finished the book this week. My friends and I have a small monthly book club and snagged this book up right away. I was intrigued and entertained throughout the book, but extremely disappointed in the ending. WAY to predictable! I also felt it was a little slow moving. Can't wait to see what my other book club members think!!