I still haven't gotten this from the library, however I am within the 100s!! ;) I was looking on Jodi's website and found an excerpt that I thought I would post here, so for those of you who are like me and still haven't been able to get your hands on our June Blogger Book selection here is a taste of House Rules by Jodi Picoult.
(copy and pasted from here
Everywhere I look, there are signs of a struggle. The mail has been scattered all over the kitchen floor; the stools are overturned. The phone has been knocked off its pedestal, its battery pack hanging loose from an umbilicus of wires. There’s one single faint footprint at the threshold of the living room, pointing toward the dead body of my son, Jacob.
He is sprawled like a starfish in front of the fireplace. Blood covers his temple and his hands. For a moment, I can’t move; can’t breathe.
Suddenly, he sits up. “Mom,” Jacob says, “you’re not even trying.”
This is not real, I remind myself, and I watch him lie back down in the exact same position – on his back, his legs twisted to the left.
“Um, there was a fight,” I say.
Jacob’s mouth barely moves. “And…?”
“You were hit in the head.” I get down on my knees, like he’s told me to do a hundred times, and notice the crystal clock that usually sits on the mantel now peeking out from beneath the couch. I gingerly pick it up and see blood on the corner. With my pinky, I touch the liquid and then taste it. “Oh, Jacob, don’t tell me you used up all my corn syrup again –“
I sink down on the couch, cradling the clock in my hands. “Robbers came in and you fought them off.”
Jacob sits up and sighs. The food dye and corn syrup mixture has matted his dark hair; his eyes are shining, even though they won’t meet mine. “Do you honestly believe I’d execute the same crime scene twice?” He unfolds a fist and for the first time I see a tuft of cornsilk hair. Jacob’s father is a towhead – or at least he was when he walked out on us fifteen years ago, leaving me with Jacob and Theo - his brand-new, blond baby brother.
“Theo killed you?”
“Seriously, mom, a kindergartner could have solved this case,” Jacob says, jumping to his feet. Fake blood drips down the side of his face, but he doesn’t notice; when he is intensely focused on crime scene analysis I think a nuclear bomb could detonate beside him and he’d never flinch. He walks toward the footprint at the edge of the carpet and points. Now, at second glance, I notice the waffle tread of the Vans skateboarding sneakers that Theo saved up to buy for months; and the latter half of the company logo – NS – burned into the rubber sole. “There was a confrontation in the kitchen,” Jacob explains. “It ended with the phone being thrown in defense, and me being chased into the living room, where Theo clocked me.”
At that, I have to smile a little. “Where did you hear that term?”
“Crime Busters, Episode 43.”
“Well, just so you know – it means to punch someone. Not hit them with an actual clock.”
Jacob blinks at me, expressionless. He lives in a literal world; it’s one of the hallmarks of his diagnosis. Years ago, when we were moving to Vermont, he asked what it was like. Lots of green, I said, and rolling hills. At that, he’d burst into tears. Won’t they hurt us? he’d said.
“But what’s the motive?” I ask, and on cue, Theo thunders down the stairs.
“Where’s the freak?” he yells.
“Theo, you will not call your brother –“
“How about I stop calling him a freak when he stops stealing things out of my room?”
I have instinctively stepped between him and his brother, although Jacob is a head taller than both of us.
“I didn’t steal anything from your room,” Jacob says.
“Oh, really? What about my sneakers?”
“They were in the mudroom,” Jacob qualifies.
“Retard,” Theo says under his breath, and I see a flash of fire in Jacob’s eyes.
“I am not retarded,” he growls, and he lunges for his brother.
I hold him off with an outstretched arm. “Jacob,” I say, “you shouldn’t take anything that belongs to Theo without asking for his permission. And Theo, I don’t want to hear that word come out of your mouth again, or I’m going to take your sneakers and throw them out with the trash. Do I make myself clear?”
“I’m outta here,” Theo mutters, and he stomps toward the mudroom. A moment later I hear the door slam.
“What we got here,” Jacob mutters, his voice a sudden drawl, “is…failure to communicate.” He crouches down, hugging his knees.
When he cannot find the words for how he feels, he borrows someone else’s. These come from Cool Hand Luke; Jacob remembers the dialogue from every movie he’s ever seen.
I’ve met so many parents of kids who are on the low end of the autism spectrum, kids who are diametrically opposed to Jacob, with his Asperger’s. They tell me I’m lucky to have a son who’s so verbal, who is blisteringly intelligent, who can take apart the busted 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.
I reach out to comfort him but stop myself - a light touch can set Jacob off. He doesn’t like handshakes or pats on the back or someone ruffling his hair. “Jacob,” I begin, and then I realize that he isn’t sulking at all. He holds up the telephone receiver he’s been hunched over, so that I can see the smudge of black on the side. “You missed a fingerprint too,” Jacob says cheerfully. “No offense, but you would make a lousy crime scene investigator.” He rips off a sheet of paper towel off the roll; dampens it in the sink. “Don’t worry, I’ll clean up all the blood.”
“You never did tell me Theo’s motive to kill you.”
“Oh.” Jacob glances over his shoulder, a wicked grin spreading across his face. “I stole his sneakers.”What do you think, would it be worse to be verbal and not fit in or silent and not be able to express yourself? Have you started reading or are you still waiting?