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House Rules. Jodi Picoult [Paperback]

Jodi Picoult
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, if a little formulaic March 6 2010
By Tom Douglas TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Wonderfully written, from alternative viewpoints, House Rules tell the story of Emma Hunt, a mother of two boys - Jacob, 18, and Theo, 15. Jacob has Asperger's Syndrome, an illness which has many different elements, making it different in everyone, but often charactered by lack of empathy, detachment from the world, obsessive behaviour and violent outbursts. Emma dotes on Jacob, spending all she has on therapists, medication and food supplements. Theo, naturally, resents such unbalanced parenting.

One of Jacob's quirks is his interest in crime scene forensics - he watches true life forensic TV shows, reconstructs crime scenes at home and even turns up at real crime scenes, offering to help the detectives.

When someone Jacob knows if found dead, and it is revealed that the murder occurred shortly after and argument with Jacob, he falls into the spotlight. Subsequent forensic evidence points even more towards Jacob's guilt and he is held for questioning...

There are some pretty large plot holes, and the twist can be seen coming from a thousand yards, so as a thriller it doesn't really stack up. It also suffers for being overly similar to Picoult's My Sister's Keeper and Handle With Care - child with medical problems, jealous sibling, courtroom drama, check, check and check.

But as an engaging and well observed novel it hits the mark, and is an excellent study of a family under pressure combined with a fascinating insight into Asperger's Syndrome.

Four stars.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating Read! July 18 2010
Format:Hardcover
If you have someone close to you with Aspergers (as I do) ... this will be a very tough read!! I had to stop reading because I was so frustrated!! Picoult's character was over the top with symptoms of both AS and Autism. This book is a big let down..... I liked the idea of writing from the different perspectives of the family ... but she was again over the top with all of the characters thinking, actions and feelings about AS!! I hope readers don't take this "research" and apply it to all living with AS and their families!!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Misrepresents Asperger's March 27 2010
By Nicola Manning-Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
As a person with Asperger's I am dismayed with Picoult's portrayal of an adult with Asperger's Syndrome. Picoult starts off by showing us all the sources she has used for her research but once one starts reading it is obvious she is so full of research she doesn't know what to do with it. She has taken every possible symptom of both Asperger's and autism (which are two different diagnoses) and put them all into the character of Jacob. Not only is Jacob loaded down with every single symptom, each of his symptoms are of the most extreme variety. A real-life 'aspie' (as we call ourselves) will have some, perhaps even many, but certainly not all textbook examples, of the symptoms and then they are at varying degrees. What Picoult has done here is a disservice to the Asperger's community.

From the mother: "Since there's no cure yet for Asperger's, we treat the symptoms ...". Asperger's is not a disease or an illness! There is no cure because one is not needed. Just from reading the positive reviews of this book I see the word "illness" being used over and over to describe Asperger's and that is because the book has left readers unfamiliar with AS with that impression. I could sit here and write an essay refuting all the quotes on the dog-eared pages I created while reading, but I won't. If you want a realistic view of a young man with Asperger's I urge you to read the book "Marcelo in the Real World" by Francisco X. Stork. The main character is 17 years old and is very comparable to Jacob only the author has done an excellent job in portraying Asperger's, showing the struggles we face but also shows that we do indeed function and do not need anyone's sympathy.

BTW, I did give the book 2 stars because if I removed the whole Asperger's element I thought the mystery was quite interesting with a fun little twist to the solution.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad - a bit drawn out Aug. 3 2010
Format:Hardcover
Well I must say the book grabbed my attention very quickly and held it till just over the halfway mark. From there I found it a bit slow moving and drawn out. The autism component was interesting but repetition of the symptoms from each characters point of view caused me to skip many paragraphs. It seemed to me that Jodi Picoult must have got distracted towards the end of the novel as the feel changed. I did loose interest in the story and found I just wanted to hear the verdict.

I debated between 2 or 3 stars and decided I'll give this a 3 as I felt connected with the characters and the beginning and felt for the poor mother of the "Aspie" child. Also the mystery component was good. However, the last third of the book killed it for me. It could have been either shorter or written differently to hold my attention.

Lastly, I still don't know why someone simple did not ask Jacob for the truth. Given the way he was portrayed to follow rules and never lie I would have thought this whole thing could have stayed out of court.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read Dec 31 2013
Format:Paperback
Interesting book about two brothers, one of whom as austism. Learned lots about the disease, particularily Asperger Syndrome. Family relationships and a love interest made this book an easy read. I enjoyed it and am now reading Jodi Picoult's book entitled The Story Teller.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars housd rules
This was my first Jodi Picoult book and i couldn't put it down! Some parts were a little confusing since the book bounced from character to character but over all it was a really... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Tracey
5.0 out of 5 stars House Rules
One of the best books I have read. Great writer. Opened my eyes to this disability and how it impacts everyone within its reach.
Published 13 months ago by Joyce Kornelson
1.0 out of 5 stars Top 10 reasons this is a terrible book
10. The characters are all one-dimensional cliches.

9. The "twist" ending is completely given away by a scene that happens early in the book.

8. Read more
Published on March 23 2012 by Linda T.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not One of Picoult's Best...
*SPOILER ALERT*
I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult's books, but House Rules was one of her weaker novels. I was incredibly disappointed with the ending; what happened with Theo? Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2011 by Anonymous
5.0 out of 5 stars My introduction to Jodi Picoult
This is the first Jodi Picoult book I read and it was very good; it made me want to read more of her books.
Published on April 1 2011 by Wind
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read...
House Rules is a compelling read; it keeps the reader wondering what will happen next. It's decent plot takes the reader on a journey that few travel. Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2011 by Julie
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Story!
This book is excellent! The author takes you inside the mind of a boy with Aspergers Syndrome. It's so well written and definitely gives you a new insight to children with... Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2011 by ML
1.0 out of 5 stars Cry Me a River :(
This book, essentially, tries to get its reader to feel sorry for the narrator. It's a "poor me" sort of book. Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2010 by CJ
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak plot
As usual this book is well written and Picoult has a good understanding of Aspergers syndrome. Her main character is interesting and is believable in his actions. Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2010 by Cavell Dumaresque
4.0 out of 5 stars Jodi Picoult Rules!
If I were trapped on a desert island and could only bring books by one fiction writer, I would choose JP. Read more
Published on July 25 2010 by Sigrid Macdonald
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