Sunday, August 1, 2010

HOUSE RULES by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult's latest novel takes readers into the world of autism, Asperger's syndrome to be more specific.  Eighteen year old Jacob was diagnosed years ago, and with the help of his mother and dozens of therapists, he has been able to attend public school and interact with others to the best of his ability.  When surrounded by those who understand his limitations, he feels comfortable and successful. 

As with anyone on the autism spectrum, Jacob functions best in familiar situations.  When faced with new people and places, he often suffers from what his mother and brother refer to as meltdowns.  Is it one of these meltdowns that cause him to react violently enough to cause the death of his beloved social skills tutor, Jess Ogilvy?

Using her distinctive style, Jodi Picoult tells Jacob's story by alternating the voices of Jacob, his mother, his brother, a police detective, and the young attorney who defends him.  Readers experience what it is like to live with Asperger's on a very personal level.  Jacob explains it from a firsthand perspective while his mother and brother detail what it is like to live with someone who can't express emotion or make a connection with those he supposedly loves.  Picoult combines the twists and turns of a criminal investigation with the emotional challenges of raising a child with a disability to create HOUSE RULES.  Her fans will not be disappointed.

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