Tuesday, June 22, 2010

House Rules Review...

Don't forget to suggest a book for July's Group Read!

House Rules by Jodi Picoult is about Jacob, an 18 year old teenager with Aspergers. Jacob is obsessed with forensic science and likes to set up crime scenes for his mom to solve. This is just one of his many 'quirks' as his mom refers to his Aspie symptoms. He only eats brown food on Thursday, blue food on Friday and the first of the month is all white food. His world is very black and white. He is made fun of at school and is super smart. He meets with a tutor named Jess twice a week to work on social skills. Jess is his best-friend and only friend in the whole world.

His younger brother Theo is also really smart and aggravated with how is life is because of Jacob. Theo starts breaking into houses of people who have 'perfect' families. He steals something small from them and thinks no one is the wiser. One day, he sneaks into a professors house that he thinks is empty. Unfortunately, it is not empty. Jess is staying at this house while the professor is out of town and in the shower when Theo walks in. Jess catches Theo and as he runs out of the house, she slips and falls in the bathroom.

Jacob arrives at the house a little later. He and Jess had argued earlier in the week when he awkwardly had asked her out on a date. When Jacob gets home later that night he is agitated and has a complete meltdown. He sleeps in his closet over night and his mother, Emma, starts attempting to take him to the hospital when he 'snaps out of it.'

That morning, Mark, Jess's boyfriend shows up at the police station and claims Jess is missing. Detective Matson takes the case and assumes Mark is abusive (he is) and that he has something to do with her disappearance. It isn't for another 5 days and two talks with Jacob before they find Jess's body wrapped up with a quilt belonging to Jacob and marks on her neck and arms.

Here is the part in a Jodi novel, when you think ohh I bet this is what happens, but she will have a twist and maybe it won't be. Well, there was no twist. There was excellent character development and the different perspectives that she uses in her stories were a great way to tell this story. To understand how Emma, Theo and Jacob think.

I was however disappointed. I think it was frustrating to read about how unprepared the police were with dealing with Jacob even after being told about him. Like you wouldn't look up information on Aspergers or consult someone before you interviewed them. I was also disappointed in Oliver's character, the lawyer Jacob's mom gets. He was obviously very unprepared and yeah, she could hardly afford anything. BUT this is YOUR CHILD, who on TRIAL FOR MURDER. I would not have trusted him to be the best defense for my child. HELL NO. And why was no one asking Jacob' the correct questions. His mom flat out asked if he killed Jess, he said no. Okay, so then you say, why did you move her? Was Jess bleeding when you got there? Did you hit Jess? Come on people. You say over and over and over again that he will tell the truth, so ask the right questions!

And Emma was so into the Jacob drama she NEVER let Theo try to spit out information. And I was disappointed in Theo that he DID not say anything until waaayyyy late in the game. Ugh. I guess it was just aggravating to me.

There was a lot of information in there about Aspergers and a lot of information about forensic science. If either of those interest you, the book may interest you. The court scenes kind of dragged for me and I skimmed through some of it.


If anyone else would like to share their thoughts on House Rules via a guest post email me at pinkflipflops44 at gmail dot com!


Morgan said...

I hate when books are disappointing! And I've heard such great things about Jodi Picoult. Thank you for the honest review!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

After reading your review, I am glad I didn't buy the book. :P I am just not a huge Picoult fan... so I don't think I will be checking this one out!

Kelly said...

I liked the book, but I completely agree with you that not asking Jacob the right questions was frustrating and unbelievable- I guess she thought she could get away with it because both the mom and lawyer didn't seem to want to know the actual truth but I don't know if I was the mom I would definitely have asked more questions. I twas not my favorite Picoult book and I can only handle her in general for so long haha

Unknown said...

If you don't want to buy this book, there are free social skills courses online that cover the same ground. At Talksmith, you can rehearse a conversation with an online character and get feedback on your mistakes. Many courses are free: at www.talksmith.net.

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