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 Picoult addresses current matters in a way that's engaging and enlightening. House Rules has kept me entertained for hours but it has also opened my eyes to what someone else's life might be like. I find myself sitting in the driveway 'cause I don't want the story to stop.
I can't really decide whether I like this book for not.
The good: The author did a very good job of framing the characters... and you can almost get inside the minds of the characters. I especially like the mother when she start to talk about life with her Asperger son. You can just feel the mixture of joy, the frustration and the pressure in her.
The bad: While I like the characters, they left me with a sense of not being fully developed. It is like getting a glimpse of movie teaser trailers... You see something that you think is interesting; but just as you want more, the trailer is over.
So in the end, the book have some moments of brilliance. But it can't sustain it. And the ending feels like the author ran out of time (or ink) ... and it left me with a sense of not fully satisfied.
This was my first Jodi Picoult book, and I think my last. It started off with great potential and I truly enjoyed the characters ( though the depiction of high-functioning autism was dubious, to say the least), but the plot was just so shallow and obvious, I kept waiting for an interesting twist that never came. The ending was abrupt, obvious and unsatisfying - I'm trying to avoid spoilers, but the ending couldn't have been the end of the story for the characters, legally or personally, and it just ticked me off.
I'd demand those hours of my life back, but I listened while cleaning the garage, so it wasn't a total loss.
I am historically a Picoult fan, but this was not worth the time it took to listen to it. The narrators were fine; the story lacked...something. Wish I had spent my time focusing on The Help, or Secret Life of Bees, or something by Charlain Harris!
I found the first few hours of this book very interesting, but it got bogged down very fast. The author is constantly re-telling the story through various characters, by the fourth time you have heard the same plot points you to want to throw something at the car radio.
I did like the use of multiple narrators, it was the only thing that made listening to this book bearable. The biggest problem is the author clearly does not understand the concept of a story arc, instead it's a flat line from beginning to end. Please do not waste twenty hours listening to this dribble and don't even get me started on the ending.
If insight into autism is not a pageturner for you, skip this book. As a primer for understanding Asperger;s Syndrome, this is good read. As a mystery it is seriously flawed. The omission of certain facts so essential for a fair trial and for overall believability is so glaring that it disturbed the flow of the book for me. The identity of the culprit, the mode of death, and other pieces of the final resolution of the story are serious holes in the tale. THe readers do a wonderful job - they are really good -- but the characters are rather overdrawn - particularly the mother. Some subplots have no purpose. Why does Henry show up two thirds of the way through? He serves no purpose. It is a long book that could have been a better story if told in fewer than 12 hours - not the 18 it took to the unsatisfying ending.
My first Jodi Picoult book and never another. I have no idea why this is a best seller. I needed to leave my brain behind to stay at the slow and unintelligent pace of this book. No challenge, obvious plot, badly written. Why do we applaud the lowest denominator in popular culture? I think this book, and all it inaccuracies, was written for people who had just learnt to read. Give us some more credit for the size of our brains Ms Piccoult. No wonder Ms Piccoult is the only author in the history of Hollywood where people say the movie was better than the book. It wouldn't be hard to achieve.
I LOVED this book!!! I would sit in my car and listen just to get to the next part. I can't wait to recommend to my book club, I know they will enjoy and learn as much as I did! Don't hesitate, buy it!!!!
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