Five words from the blurb: Asperger’s, trouble, police, murder, guilt
My eldest son has Asperger’s syndrome so I am always interested in books that deal with the subject. I was impressed by the research that has gone into this book, but I’m afraid the plot didn’t do much for me.
House Rules is the story of Jacob, an 18-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, who has a special interest in forensic science. One day his tutor is found dead and Jacob becomes the prime suspect in the murder investigation. The book uses multiple narrators to show how those with autism have a different perspective on events, and also to highlight the thoughts off his mother and brother.
Jacob’s actions were realistic and tactfully described, but I was even more impressed by the descriptions of the emotions felt by his mother and younger brother, Theo. Some of the scenes were heartbreaking for me to read as they could easily relate to my family in ten years time (I also have a younger son without Asperger’s).
Unfortunately I found that the plot wasn’t sustained over the 650 pages of this book. There was far too much padding and repetition of the problems faced by those with Asperger’s. Despite being engaged by all the characters in this book, I was bored by large chunks of it; the court room scenes were particularly dull.
The ending was quite clever, but I’m afraid it was too little, too late. The plot wasn’t complex enough to justify the length and the same message could easily have been achieved with half the number of pages.
I applaud Jodi Picoult for bringing autism to the attention of a wider audience, but I think this would work better as a (heavily edited) film.
The thoughts of other bloggers:
Although well-researched and presenting a detailed and gripping insight into the realities of life with Asperger’s syndrome, I felt the book was hampered by the legal plot. Life…With Books
The audio book made this story a home run for me. It was fantastic… Bibliophile by the Sea
Overall, this novel didn’t “wow” me, either as literature or as a believable portrayal of life with Asperger’s. But this author has a knack for storytelling and creating interesting characters… Laughing Stars