Book Review: House Rules

July 1, 2010 book review 7

House Rules  by Jodi Picoult, published March 2010, read April 2010. 
I enjoy most books written by Jody Picoult, thought I’ve only this and the last six, I have not make it back to her earlier works.   Maybe some day.
House Rules is the story of a young man, Jacob Hunt, who has Asperger’s syndrome, a disease on the autism spectrum typically marked by a very high IQ but recognized by a clear lack of social cues or interaction.  Jacob has a loving mother, Emma, a younger brother Theo, and a passion for forensic analysis.  His parents divorced when he was young, his father unable to accept his son and the attention he will always need, the wedge between his parents runs deep.   The crux of the story is the death of a young woman who was Jacob’s tutor, she helped him to develop socially.  We are taken deep into the Hunt family, learning what happens when one family members disease delegates all else that goes on, right down to the color of food everyone eats.  We wonder if Jacob is capable of hurting someone, could his curiosity have lead him to do this awful thing?

Once again I love how I learn things when I read a Picoult novel.  I had a very limited knowledge of AS before I read this book, and now I feel as though I know somewhat more, but I did find myself curious and researching more.  I appreciate how the author does her research and helps to define this disease and it’s impact on the family.  I love how she seems to reach in and show her readers exactly what being the younger sibling of this child must be like.  This book was well written and moved fairly well.  Some of the relationships and side stories were unnecessary and I thought she could have left them out.  
Overall I rated this book a 3 out of 5 stars, because I liked it. 

7 Responses to “Book Review: House Rules”

  1. Terra

    I am reading 19 Minutes – I am liking it – it is jumping around a bit too much for me though! She is really quite a good author – I will have to check out House Rules later in the summer.

  2. Ali

    Don’t you love it when a book makes you want to learn more? I was that way re: footbinding when I read Lisa See’s Snow Flower novel. Interesting but eeeek. I need to get back into reading this summer–I don’t think I’ve picked up anything in 2 months!

  3. Pam

    I first read Jodi Picoult a long time ago and decided I didn’t like her books. Then a year or so ago I read Nineteen Minutes and LOVED it! But still I resisted Picoult because I thought I didn’t like her style. Well, out of desperation I picked up a playaway (a digital book) of Picoult’s Tenth Cirlce from the library to listen to while I walk. And I’m thoroughly enjoying it! I’m also hearing lots of good things about House Rules – including your review! I think I need to rethink my opinion of Picoult. I’ll be interested to know what you think of her earlier works (if you ever do get to them). In my opinion, they are very different from her newer, more current events centered novels.

  4. Miss Healthypants

    Iwanski’s nephew has a mild form of Asperger’s Syndrome. He functions quite well, but I’m thinking I would like to read this book and learn more about it, too.

  5. MissKris

    Alas, I’m one who used to love Jodi’s books and have been sadly disappointed in the last 3, including this one. Like Nora Roberts and a lot of others, it seems like some women writers find their ‘formula’ and never vary far from it…almost like they’ve gotten stuck in a corner while painting a room and can’t figure out how to get out. She IS a very talented writer, but I don’t know if I’ll try reading her next one or not. Another writer whose early work I LOVED and then grew tired of because of the same problem is Nancy Thayer. One of her first books, “Three Women at the Water’s Edge” is one of my all-time favorites and I reread it every few years. But her “Hot Flash Club” books just left me cold. Yuck.

  6. sheila

    I’ll have to let my daughter know about this review, as she’s an avid reader of Picoult. Thanks!

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