House Rules by Jodi Picoult – Book Review

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Emma’s son Jacob is obsessed with forensic science. He likes to stage fake crime scenes at their house, and fingerprint household items in his homemade lab. Jacob also has Aspergers Syndrome, so he doesn’t interact with the rest of the world in the same way that most teenage boys would. This becomes a real problem with Jacob’s social skills tutor, Jess, goes missing and is eventually discovered dead. Suddenly the way Jacob interacts makes him look suspicious, even guilty. When he is charged with her murder, will his Aspergers hinder him in trying to stage his defense?

I’ve had a lot of trouble with Picoult’s books lately. I used to really like her work, but then I think I burned out on her. I was sick of the emotional manipulation, and I was sick of the formula with the BIG TWIST at the end. Her most recent book I read, “Change of Heartreally disappointed me.¬†With all of this in mind, I was somewhat reticent to pick up “House Rules.” After all, it is a big book at over 500 pages. I know that Picoult’s books are quick reads, but if was still not enjoying her work, that might be an annoying 500+ pages.

Luckily, I actually really enjoyed “House Rules!” I did not think it was as emotionally manipulative as much of Picoult’s work and not quite as formulaic, either. Instead, I thought Picoult did a fabulous job getting into the head of a teenager with Aspergers and giving insight into the life of a single mother trying to figure out how to do her best for her two sons, one of whom had special needs. The only thing that sort of annoyed me was Emma’s assertions that Jacob’s Aspergers was caused by his vaccinations, almost in the same breathe as admitting that autism rates continue to rise even after mercury has been removed from vaccinations. At least she didn’t go so far as being anti-vaccination.

Although this isn’t my favorite of Picoult’s books (those would be “My Sister’s Keeper” and “Keeping Faith”), I did enjoy it more than much of her work I’ve read recently.

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This review was done with a book received from the publisher for the Book Club..
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