Friday, February 15, 2013

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Title: House Rules
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Atria Books
Acquired: Bought
Age Group: Adult
Grade: 87% or B+
Buy It: Amazon
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?
My Thoughts::
After reading my first Jodi Picoult book, I find them very hard to resist.They always make me question myself and other morally and legally. I have to look at things from so many angles and see that the world isn't as black and white as we all want it to be. This book was no different.

Since we get chapters from Jacob's perspective, we actually know what is going on in his mind, his thoughts, and his motives. As readers we get frustrated with characters who don't reveal enough information to their friends and family, especially information that could change and help the situation entirely. I wanted to feel this way about Jacob because I wanted to believe that he wasn't guilty. If he just would have given the full story in the right way, he wouldn't be a suspect. But of course he couldn't do that and it wasn't his fault. It was the Aspberger's.

As for the plot, I was amazed. It is crazy how a lawyer can't ask if their client is guilty or not. This was even worse for Jacob, because if he was just asked to tell the whole story of what happened, there wouldn't have been such a huge disaster. I could really see the struggle of all of the characters. There was just so much evidence pinning Jacob as guilty, even though a lot of it was because of his Aspberger's. It shows just how little we concern ourselves with how we perceive each other and how we want everyone to fit the status quo, even those with disabilities.

Overall I enjoyed this book a lot. I found myself staring off to space thinking about it and how the whole situation worked out. The ending didn't really surprise me though which was a letdown. I guessed the ending right away and I spend the entire rest of the book hoping I was wrong so I could get a twist like the end of most Picoult books. Too bad it didn't happen.

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