House Rules by Jodi Picoult

House Rules

Author: Jodi Picoult

Published: 1st November 2010

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Source: Library

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary

Date read: 25th October 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads

Jacob Hunt is a teenager: brilliant at maths, wicked sense of humour, extraordinarily organised, hopeless at reading social cues. And Jacob has Asperger’s. His mother expects other people not to understand. But she doesn’t expect Jacob to be charged with murder.

My Thoughts:

I have read two other Jodi Picoult books (My sister’s keeper and Harvesting the heart) which were just MEH! So even though the synopsis intrigued me, I was apprehensive about reading this. As you know by now I will read pretty much any genre as long as it tickles my fancy.

The story is told from 5 points of view Jacob, Emma, Theo, Rich and Oliver for some people this could probably be confusing but I found it worked really well, it kept the book flowing at a nice pace and the chapters were only a few pages long before we heard from someone else’s perspective.

I don’t know why but certain conditions/disabilities really intrigue me, I want to see how the authors tackle the subject and turn it into a convincing story. I thought Jodi Picoult did a really good job in making her audience realise how hard life can be, not just for the sufferers of Aspergers but also the families.

Jacob is an 18-year-old boy who was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome from the age of 3, he has always found it difficult to start a conversation, look in to people’s eyes or recognise emotions. Jacob’s latest obsession is forensics, before that it was dogs and before that it was dinosaurs. But his obsession gets out of hand and sees him arrested for murder. Jacob is a very difficult character what with all his quirks, I am not sure I really connected with him due to his lack of emotions and other traits, but obviously he was supposed to be portrayed that way.  I did feel very sorry for him, it must be so difficult for him especially with his hypersensitivity.

Emma is Jacob’s mum who has given her life up to care for him and to pay for all the drugs, vitamins and therapists appointments. She is a single mum, writing as an agony aunt who has two sons to provide for and love, but only one really gets the attention. I really felt for Emma, she was a strong woman and if I was in the same situation I would have gone crazy or at least have tried to get help from the government. She was working, hadn’t had a relationship in 15 years and was pretty much devoted to her son.

Theo is Jacob’s 15-year-old brother, who feels neglected and wishes that his brother was normal so that he could have friends over or even just a little one on one time with his mother. He starts to wander into people’s houses and take a memento from each (supposedly normal) household. I felt very sorry for Theo, he didn’t get much attention from his mother, he hasn’t heard from his father in years and has no friends as everyone snubs him due to Jacobs condition.

Rich is the local detective who is involved in the case, he is a nice enough character, feeling intimidated that Jacob knows more about forensics than himself, he asks Jacob awkward questions which leads to his arrest.

Oliver is the Lawyer that has literally just graduated from university, he finds himself chucked into the deep end of a murder case and doesn’t know much really, he basically learns on the job and you see him develop into a confident young lawyer and friend of the family.

I read on Goodreads that people found this book a bit too repetitive and yes I totally agree with them but I felt it needed to be repeated to appear realistic. A large portion of the book was set in court so you did have the symptoms of Aspergers syndrome repeated.

I found the book to be a bit too predictable, however I still really enjoyed it. I am wanting to read off the page by Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha Van Leer.

Overall I rated this a 4 out of 5 stars.


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