Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review: House Rules by Jodi Picoult (audio book)

From the back of the audio case: One of America's most popular authors, Jodi Picoult has earned a reputation for crafting riveting, topical fiction. With House Rules she delivers a note-perfect blend of entertainment and social commentary.

Teenager Jacob Hunt has Asperger's syndrome. A forensic science wizard, he follows his police scanner to crime scenes and gives law enforcement officials brilliant advice. But when he is accused of murder, his Asperger's traits - not looking people in the eye, tics and twitches - look more like guilt to investigators. Suddenly Jacob and his mother are caught up in America's maddening legal system, which favors those who communicate a particular way.

As Picoult vividly depicts, being different can have dire consequences, and justice isn't blind for everyone. The tension mounts through a breathtaking, full-case performance of this provocative novel.

Read by: Mark Turetsky, Nicole Poole, Andy Paris, Rich Orlow, and Christopher Evan Welch

My thoughts: I only started reading Jodi Picoult's books recently and have only read a few of them - all of which I have enjoyed. This one was no different. I did listen to the audio version, and I have to say, it added to the enjoyment of it. House Rules tells the story of a mother, Emma, whose son, Jacob, has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. It is also a story about brotherly love and the love of a mother. Jacob is accused of committing murder and put on trial. There are several family and moral issues that are tossed around, the plot includes a little twist and there's even a sprinkle of romance. Jodi Picoult tells the family's story through the eyes of five people: Mom, Jacob, younger brother Theo, a policeman, and the man who becomes both Mom's love interest and her son's defense attorney. This allows the story to move ahead, leaving space for the family members to expound on the intricacies of Asperger's, and the outsiders to demonstrate their reactions to Jacob's behavior. Jodi Picoult goes into great depth on the day to day life of Asperger's such as the funny things which are taken literally, the foods each day of a certain color, the obsession with one subject, etc. Jacob's obsession is on forensic science. He watches a television show called `Crimebusters' and keeps a detailed journal of each episode. Because he has a police scanner, he sometimes turns up at crime scenes where he tells the police what they need to do. He also frequently stages his own mock crime scenes at home, complete with fake blood made from corn syrup and fingerprints. There were many times when I found myself laughing out loud as I listened to this, especially when Jacob was speaking, using movie quotes when he was uncomfortable or just coming out with quirky things to say about life. I highly recommend this book to those who want to learn more about Asperger's, who like stories about real issues facing real people, and for those who just like a good story about family life.

(I borrowed this audio book from the library.)


  1. This sounds very interesting, especially since I know a young man living with Asperger's. Good review!

  2. I liked this book also. I enjoy the little twists that she tends to put at the end of her books.

  3. I also listened to this on audio and agree with you that it was very good.


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