Asperger’s and Crime Rule in ‘House Rules’
I was very eager to read her newest book, available now in hardcover, House Rules. It is about Jacob Hunt, a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s on the autism spectrum, and causes Jacob to have certain things in order. He must stick to a schedule. He can only eat blue foods on certain days. And, he is obsessed with a crime show, everything cop-related, forensics and crime scenes.
Jacob lives in a house with his brother and single mother, the dad long gone, unable to handle Jacob’s disorder and the disorder it wreaks on the household. Jacob’s tutor is found dead, dumped in a drainage culvert, sitting upright, with a distinctive quilt.
The cops seize Jacob’s makeshift crime lab from his room, after his own mother turns him in.
But, did Jacob do the crime?
As with most of Picoult’s books, this one has a twist about halfway through. Unlike most of Picoult’s books, I could see this twist coming one-third of the way through the book and did not need binoculars to make it out in all its sharp detail.
Still, Picoult does not tackle any topic without thorough research, and she clearly did her homework on Asperger’s and crime scenes.
Her writing is, as always, clear, crisp and compelling.
Though this is not her best work, I still found all 532 pages worth the time and finished House Rules in a single day.
If you saw the movie, My Sister’s Keeper, based on the book by the same name, you are familiar with Picoult’s work and her plot twists. I both read that book and saw the movie, and the book was much better.
If you have not read Picoult, I would not recommend starting with “House Rules.” It is her most recent tome, though not her best. Instead, read Nineteen Minutes or Vanishing Acts, much sharper examples of her best and brightest work.
by Jodi Picoult
Atria Books, copyright 2010
List price $28 hard cover in the U.S. and Canada
Lana F. Flowers is a gifted Arkansas reporter who can handle news about Walmart and retail, movie and book reviews, human interest stories, features and anything else you'd care to mention. She lives in Rogers, Ark., with her husband Jesse, daughter Layla, cats Lottie Boots and Emmy, and dog Fuzzy. Send an email -- email@example.com