They tell me I'm lucky to have a son who's so verbal, who is blisteringly intelligent, who can take apart the broken microwave and have it working again an hour later. They think there is no greater hell than having a son who is locked in his own world, unaware that there's a wider one to explore. But try having a son who is locked in his own world, and still wants to make a connection. A son who tries to be like everyone else, but truly doesn't know how.
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?
Emotionally powerful from beginning to end, House Rules looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way - and fails those who don't.
©2010 Jodi Picoult (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
Jodi, What happened! Did you run out of printing ink? What happened to the end of the story? The rest of the story was great. I'm guessing there will be a part two to give it a ending. We don't listen for 20 hours not to have a ending!
1. Surely someone could have asked Jacob what happened? Of course that would have ruined the plot. It was as maddening as a soap opera that no one asked!
2. Although there were parts where I felt the description of Jacob's actions and words fit Aspberger's I felt that other parts did not. Her research may be lacking or she needed to adapt his character to fit the plot.
3. The ending? What ending?
I did hang in there and listen to the entire book, but as many others mentioned I found it repetitious. But that is a small problem compared to the 3 big ones mentioned above.
This book was more like a first novel than that of an accomplished author. It seems that me that Ms. Picoult couldn't get it all together. The book has great character development but very little plot development. I solved the 'murder' early on and waited for some surprise or twist but it never came. The ending was VERY abrupt and disappointing. If not for the general quality of the story (prior to the ending) and the gift of character development I would have rated the book much lower. I would only recommend this book to someone interested in learning about autism because that is the only thing I really gained from it.
I can't understand all the rave reviews. This was the most tedious audio I have ever purchased from Audible. The only reason I hung onto it was hoping that the ending would have some twist instead of the obvious ending that I figured out very early on. One of the most frustrating books I have experienced waiting for something unexpected to happen which never did. One of the most frustrating things was the way the author used numbered lists over and over to illustrate points-frustrating part was that the main character expressed an extreme aversion to anything with even numbers but over and over again these lists were 4, 6, 8 and so on in number and what made it more frustrating that the character counted out each list by saying 1 blah, blah blah, 2 blah, blah blah and so sometimes up to 12 or 14. This is the only book I have purchased in 5 years that I wish I could get a refund for. I'd give it zero if I could. Kept waiting for someone to ask the main character the most obvious question which no one ever did.
House Rules touched me like no other book of its kind. I am a parent of a son with Asperger's Syndrome (AS), diagnosed before it was even acknowledged in the DSM, and too late for him to receiving any appropriate school placement or interventions.
I found Jodi Picoult's book very well-researched and it so aptly portrayed the "little professor" characteristic that makes this a hidden disability to all but the child's closest family members.
While each individual with AS has unique interests and unusually great amount of knowledge of his or her given "obsession," quite often this knowledge results in the lack of awareness of the child's difficulties among teachers and others. It can also mask their underdeveloped ability to socialize with peers, because they can so readily speak (or preach) to adults. Individuals with AS are frequently friendless, and become the unfortunate prey of unforgiving schoolmates, and the inevitable target of bullying. Their communication problems can get them into difficulties with the law and other authorities, as the story betrays.
Inevitably, adolescents with AS gain an awareness of their friendless-state, and they suffer from depression and some even commit suicide.
I hope this intriguing book helps families identify loved-ones with autistic-spectrum disorders, and that it will lead them to seek the help of a developmental pediatrician and early intervention services.
Thank you Jodi for shining a light on Asperger's.
It was hard to believe how many times the author repeated the same story without really bringing out any new information or perspective... I kept listening waiting for the big reveal that was obvious very early in the story. We finally got it at the very end, WITH NO RESOLUTION. How is it possible that the author decided to skip what actually ends up happening to the characters? I think it was because she couldn't achieve realism and a satisfying ending at the same time.
This story had so much potential; a great hook and some interesting characters, but the plot was very poorly presented and resolved.
I usually hate abridged books so making a recommendation to abridge a book is a hard one for me. However, I found that this book spent too much time reworking subplots that had already been told. The writing was engaging enough to continue to listen but I found myself hitting the fast forward but button on occasion. A good listen while hanging out in the garden, walking or driving but definitely not a page turner.
I have worked as a child psychologist for 45 years. During my semi- retirement I've listened to 100s of books from audible.com. This was one of the best. The author wove a very plausible plot associated with the challenges of a son with Asperger's Syndrome. The clinical picture was spot on. I am a little embarrased to admit to twelve hours of straight listening. I do have a life(lol). I was just awed by the story and the wonderful portrayal of the effects of this disorder on the family and the school mileau. The book had great passion, humor and truth! Kudos to Audible but most of all to Jodi Picoult. No one could write such a book without a first hand experience with an Aspi. I will recommend it to all the Special Ed teachers, diagnosticians, and legal professionals I know.
For the length of the book the ending was left short & undone. I figured out what happened long before the ending, but I was left frustrated with the lack of closure & details, especially after hours of details leading up to it. The language could have been a little cleaner as well. It's a struggle to find books that I will enjoy on a long drive, but not give my kids and early education on foul language.
Jodi used to be one of my favorite authors. Now, it seems that all of her characters are becoming interchangeable from one book to the next. The ending of this book is so predictable...I had it figured out immediately.
"The world seen from an Asperger's syndrome boy's"
point of view is really credibly depicted. The story is also told from the point of view of his mother, brother and some others and its success relies on this contrasting of viewpoints as well as suspense, as we don't know until the end what really happened. There is a little too much lecturing on Asperger's, some of which is repetitive, but don't let this comment put you off. It's still a great read/listen.
"Excellent narration makes this a winner"
I hadn't read one of Jodi's books before, although I had noted them years ago. Joining Audible made me think: car journeys, and this was my first download. I think I would not have enjoyed the paperback as much as the audiobook - Jodi's habit of writing each person's contribution as a first-person narrative could have been muddling on paper but here it was stunning. The different voices used to put over the various characters actually made it jump out of the speakers. And the voices are so well chosen. Fabulously dynamic and entertaining as a story, yet with so much serious stuff to think about, woven in at its core. A rare combination, done well. Made my car journeys something to look forward to. Definitely 5 stars.
A brave attempt to get inside a gifted man with Asperger's syndrome. I find it improbable that this syndrome which is characterised by impairment of social skills can create moral blindness as well. I have seen many with Aspergers and moral impairment is never seen- inconsiderate behaviour towards other is common but that is not a moral fault.
Nice story line which creates tension and the ending is cleverly designed but on the whole a fantasy at the expense of a group of people who are already stigmatised.
"Totally gripping! An emotional ride throughout."
A very thought provoking book which kept me gripped throughout, I literally could not put it down until finished!
Seeing the effect of Jacob's condition of Asperger's on everyone was amazingly insightful being written from their point of view. You could not help but feel desperately sorry for his mother as her frustration and fear for her son manifests throughout the book. The emotions of each character is almost tangible although like others here you want to shout 'For Gods sake ask him if he killed her' when you know that Jacob cannot lie.
Having 2 teenage boys with Asperger's myself Picault's insight into the syndrome was absolutely perfect. She clearly identifies all of the idiosyncrasies, particularly during the final court case when the specialists describe what it is like to have the condition.
Beautifully written - an absolute page turner.
This book is one of my favourites, Picoult at her very best:heart rending, uplifting and insightful.
An amazing story which beautifully describes the difficulties faced by people on the autistic spectrum and their families.
The level of suspense that Jodi creates makes this unmissable.
Another thoroughly enjoyable emotional journey.
"Wow what a story!"
I didn't know of this author before listening to this book, but, I'll be seeking out her books from now on. This book is a terrific listen and I couldn't stop returning to as I had to know what happened next. The book is dramatized by using different actors to be the main characters in the story and they do a great job. Not only is there a gripping story as to whether or not Jacob, a sufferer from Asperger's Syndrome, has committed a crime or not, but it's also a heart-rending account how this disorder affects other family members. The author keeps one guessing to the very end about the outcome of the trial: a section of the book which I thought was exceptionally well written and kept me glued to my iPod for hours. The story isn't all about ruined lives and unhappiness as the writer leavens this gruelling tale with witty and ascerbic asides and there's plenty of humour. If you enjoy Lionel Shrivers style of writing, you'll really like this book.
"what else would you expect"
what else would you expect from the masterful Jodi Picoult?
Her research into the emotions felt by not just the family, but the person who has had to live with or experience the dilemas faced by real people give her characters life.
I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend that you listen to it too.
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