Book Review: Jodi Picoult’s House Rules

The rules are simple:

1. Clean up your own messes.
2. Tell the truth.
3. Brush your teeth twice a day.
4. Don’t be late for school.
5. Take care of your brother; he’s the only one you’ve got.

I finished this book this morning. It’s a long one–about 525 pages, but as the Stephen King quote on the front says, “Picoult writes with an unassuming brilliance.” House Rules is about a young mother named Emma, and her two sons, Jacob, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s, and Theo. When Jacob is accused of murder, the family faces a bigger trial (no pun intended) than they ever have.

Prior to reading this book, my only knowledge of Asperger’s was a brief encounter with a student in the writing center who was studying the syndrome and a few miscellaneous facts. After reading this book, I have gained such a profound respect for individuals who struggle with Asperger’s and the people who help them with this affliction.

What I love about this book is that the story is told by Emma, Jacob, Theo, Jacob’s lawyer, Oliver, and the Detective assigned to the murder case, Rich. But, as Picoult explains in an interview at the end of the novel, the story is Jacob’s, and that is what gives the heart and soul to this story.

I’ve read countless Picoult books, the first being My Sister’s Keeper, but I think this is my favorite. If you read one book this summer, let it be House Rules.


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