Name: House Rules
Author: Jodi Picoult
This is my least favorite Jodi Picoult novel. Usually, I love her entire book, but House Rules is a slow start. I did not like the beginning, yet once I was into the middle there were times I could not put it down. I found myself laughing at Jacob’s take on life or words at times. (I would have enjoyed more of that.) I estimate a little over 50% of this book is page turning. I did not like the end at all. Hence my lower score.
Despite this being my least favorite Picoult novel, skipping was minimal. I only skipped long speeches by attorneys toward the end and a few of Jacob’s involved descriptions.
Who should read?
Voracious readers will find this an easy read once they reach page fifty or there about. Readers who like action may not make it that far. Picky readers may not like. I believe people interested in Aspergers or Autism will enjoy. People with children who have those challenges? I’m not sure they will like. I have a friend, Rochelle, with two son’s. One has autism. Although she is a voracious reader, I advised her to skip this Picoult novel.
Summary: This is the story of Jacob Hunt, a child with Asperger’s syndrome and the accompanying challenges for Jacob, his mother, Emma, and brother, Theo. The story is told from several character’s perspectives. Voices change with chapters. (Fonts change, too, which helps remind you a new character is speaking.) The people include:
Emma, the mother of an autistic son, also writes a parental column for a newspaper from home. Her entire life revolves around her autistic son. Jacob. She is divorced.
Jacob, relays his thoughts in an interesting way. At times he is comical, very smart, and other times you get lost in his logic. The author has done a great job helping readers see life from behind this challenging disability.
Theo is Jacob’s younger brother and is often caught between loving his brother and hating his brother’s Aspergers, and how his own life has been affected.
Oliver is the attorney thrust into the family situation.
Police Officers but to be completely honest, I wasn’t sure these were needed. I never really understood why they were included.
Characters: Picoult did okay with character development. Each character carries his or her own distinct voice. However, I did have a hard time connecting or loving any one individual person, and I never quite understood the purpose of the supporting characters (police officers/detectives.) Yet, dialogue between characters was good and they definitely had emotional depth.
Storyline: The start fell short. The story had a good hook and was believable. The main conflict kept me turning pages, but at the risk of revealing too much, I’ll refrain from talking about resolving conflicts. Each of the main characters had purpose and goals, however here again, the minor characters fell short.
Writing style: Simply, I love Picoult’s writing style. Narrative and dialogue was well balanced. Style exquisite. Voice great. Her writing flows well.
Cyndie Zahner is the author of The Suicide Gene, a psychological thriller, and Dream Wide Awake, a paranormal novel that is totally fiction, but has been inspired by her own experiences. See the video of her own paranormal experience, a premonition of 9/11 here. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, BookBub, LinkedIn and purchase her books on Amazon.