The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jodi Picoult's House Rules

House Rules: A Novel
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             I just finished House Rules by Jodi Picoult. Like all of her novels (at least all of the ones I've read so far), the story swirls around a family. And after she puts the characters and issues into her  magical tilt-a-whirl, the stance you might normally take gets blurry. And then Picoult is able to sit back and smirk in a self-satisfied way...

             At the center of the story is a young man with Asperger's who is accused of murdering his social skills tutor. Jacob's  daily "demands" on his family (a single mother and a younger brother) wear and tear at them; the murder trial is just added stress. 

          A child with Asperger's seems normal. They're intelligent---sometimes highly so.  But if you scratch the surface, you notice their inability to maintain eye contact or to feel empathy, their difficulty initiating a conversation, their strangle-hold on "habits" they've created...and you soon realize that this person is very different.

          Like all of Picoult's books, there is a twist at the end; it doesn't end up quite the way you think it will.  What starts out as black and white turns to many shards of gray...

          And after all, what about life is black or white?

          To finish this post, I'd like to welcome my newest follower.  Hedgewitch has two blogs. Please stop by and check out her blog.  Hedgewitch writes poetry that makes me think (and sometimes her poetry is beyond my thinking-ability). Thanks for following me.



  1. I just finished reading this book too! It was a great book and I thought it portrayed a person with Asperger's very well. I think teachers should read this book in order to understand students like this better so they can be more understanding about these students. I love the author's books because they make me think and see things from a different perspective. Glad to know that

  2. I've only read one Jodi Picoult book and found it a bit depressing. She is hugely popular, though, and since you like her, maybe I'll give this title a try. :)

  3. Oh dear. Beware of this Hedgewitch-type person. She's all eye of newt now, ask questions later. I once saw her turn an orange into the Sunday New York Times. (they both had sections, so it couldn't have been that hard, but still.) Her poetry is okay, I guess, if you like intelligence. I prefer graphic novels about Catbox Woman, my favorite superheroine.

    Okay, I have to go now, and set one of the spirits loose. I bet Judi Poo-colt doesn't have spirits in jars. But I do. *dance*

  4. Pat---I agree. I've only worked with a few students with Asperger's but (I believe) Picoult has done a good job portraying what they have to deal with in their everyday lives.

    Lisa---Her books don't have happy endings. At least the ones I've read. I happen to love sad books (A Thousand Splendid Suns---one of my all-time favorite books, and so depressing!), so consider that information along with my recommendation.

    Fireblossom--I already am suspicious of Hedgewitch, since she is one of your followers. Don't worry--I have my eye on her...

  5. Hi Sioux,
    I've heard readers praise Jodi Picoult's books, but like Lisa I avoid sad novels--although I do like novels with surprise endings and twists.

  6. Donna--Then I would recommend Picoult's "Handle with Care." It's sad, too, but the last-minute twist is unexpected...

  7. PS--I read Jodi Picoult's book "Mercy" in the late summer of 1998. My book log says so!

  8. Thanks for the shout-out, Sioux. As one of Fireblossom's numerous zombie sycophants, I shamble happily after all who praise my mistress, lest she put me back in the little bottle. I HATE the little bottle.

  9. I've read most of Picoult's books, including this one. I did like it--kept me reading, anyway.


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