House Rules: Book summary and reviews of House Rules by Jodi Picoult

House Rules

A Novel

By Jodi Picoult

House Rules
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2010,
    544 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Picoult's writing, line by line, is as smooth as ever, and she does a great job of getting into Jacob's head, but the wobbly plotting is a massive detriment." - Publishers Weekly

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cloggie Downunder
Excellent Picoult
House Rules is Jodi Picoult’s seventeenth novel. The story involves Jacob Hunt, a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome and an obsession with forensic analysis, who is charged with and tried for the murder of his tutor, Jess Ogilvy. Five voices tell the tale: Jacob’s own; his brother, Theo’s; his mother, Emma’s; his lawyer, Oliver’s; and the investigating police officer, Rich’s. As always, Picoult’s research is meticulous, and she presents controversial issues even-handedly. The tension that builds throughout the novel is occasionally alleviated by the jokes and puns the characters themselves make. While the reader may conclude the truth about Jess’s death well before the denouement, this in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the journey towards the revelation. The view from within a person with Asperger’s is very well described, and Jacob’s frustration with the inability of those around him to recognise the truth is expertly portrayed. As well as educating about autism, Asperger’s and aspects of crime scene investigation, Picoult deals with motherhood and brotherhood and what truth really is. The conclusion demonstrates the pitfalls of relying solely on physical evidence, or, for that matter, on appearances and /or behaviour alone. Once again, an excellent read!

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Boss
Wow!
Wonderful book! The reader literally falls in love with Jacob and his family and whishes he/she could protect them from harm. It is a book that will stay with you long after turning the last page. Words are not enough to describe the feelings of warmth and compassion this story is able to awake. Just read it! =)

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Author Information

Jodi Picoult Author Biography

Author photograph by Gasper Tringale.

Jodi Picoult is the bestselling author of the following novels: Songs of the Humpback Whale (1992), Harvesting the Heart (1994), Picture Perfect (1995), Mercy (1996), The Pact (1998); Keeping Faith (1999), Plain Truth (2000), Salem Falls (2001), Perfect Match (2002), Second Glance (2003), My Sister's Keeper (2004), Vanishing Acts (2005), The Tenth Circle (2006), Nineteen Minutes (2007), Change of Heart (2008), Handle with Care (2009), House Rules (2010), Sing You Home (2011). She is also the author of Wonder Woman: Love and Murder (a collection of Wonder Woman #6-10). In 2003 she was awarded the New England Bookseller Award for Fiction.

She was born and raised —happily—on Long Island… something that she believed at first was a detriment to a girl who ...

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Name Pronunciation
Jodi Picoult: jo-dee pee-coh

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