Rated of 5
by Cloggie Downunder
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!