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19 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
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...
Published on March 6 2010 by Tom Douglas

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating Read!
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...
Published on July 18 2010 by Debzzz007


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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 (Marlow) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: House Rules: A Novel (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
This review is from: House Rules: A Novel (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 Mansfield (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: House Rules: A Novel (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
By 
Luke Harris (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: House Rules: A Novel (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
By 
Diana E. Young "Diana Young" (Vernon, B.C., Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: House Rules: A Novel (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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5.0 out of 5 stars housd rules, June 27 2013
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 good book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars House Rules, March 11 2013
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One of the best books I have read. Great writer. Opened my eyes to this disability and how it impacts everyone within its reach.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Top 10 reasons this is a terrible book, March 23 2012
This review is from: House Rules: A Novel (Hardcover)
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. None of the characters are likeable. (Seriously, not one.)

7. The only reason that the plot works is because, inexplicably, none of the family members ever talk to each other about the big event in their lives.

6. Exposition. It's everywhere. Apparently, Jodi Picoult is not familiar with "show, don't tell."

5. The novel is oblivious to the fact that its police are negligent and incompetent (because, if they weren't, the plot would fall apart.)

4. The reason behind the plot twist made my eyes get stuck in the back of my head because I rolled them so hard (though, in better hands, it may have been effective; the idea was actually quite good.)

3. Characters are introduced into the plot and then are given absolutely nothing to do.

2. Plot holes you could drive a truck through.

1. The way that Asperger's is used to further the plot in this train-wreck of a book is cheap and offensive. The positive reviews here make me fear for the way that my son (who has ASD) will be judged and treated by people who think that Picoult's representation of the disorder is accurate. Shame on you, Jodi!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, you just can't put down!, July 22 2008
By 
Donna (Ottawa, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: House Rules (Hardcover)
I live in Ottawa, Ontario Canada and was walking through my local bookstore. I came across this book in the aisles and the title of the book caught my attention. Why it did is because we always had something at home that was posted on the fridge titled "House Rules". I had to fly to Calgary and I read this book the entire 4 hour flight, I didn't even notice the time. I don't know Rachel, but this book really touched me. I honestly couldn't put this book down and there were parts where I would laugh, parts that were similiar to experiences I had when I was young and then parts where I just completely stared to left of my window to just completely cry. I have never had a book do that to me before, and the fact that it was something that was real, really had me explore my own childhood memories. I loved the book and I hope that you will continue to write more. It's just interesting to know that we are in separate countries and that we had similiar childhoods, it's interesting to me, that there are many similiar people in the world, we just never know it and the fact we can look back without hatred and really look at both positive and negative aspects of life, but mainly because we moved on. I bought another copy for my sister as well, she won't believe it when she reads it. It truly was such a good read, and I really just enjoyed it.

Thank you!

Donna
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5.0 out of 5 stars My introduction to Jodi Picoult, April 1 2011
This review is from: House Rules: A Novel (Paperback)
This is the first Jodi Picoult book I read and it was very good; it made me want to read more of her books.
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House Rules: A Novel
House Rules: A Novel by Jodi Picoult (Paperback - Nov. 9 2010)
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