Elizabeth's Reviews > House Rules

House Rules by Jodi Picoult
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's review
Jul 05, 10

Read from June 29 to July 02, 2010

This book is hard to review. I know many families touched by autism and I wouldn't want to unintentionally hurt their feelings. So, I've sat back thinking about this book and what it means for this epidemic. And I hope that I can put into words what I feel and how this book affected me.

Autism plays a huge part in this book. Asperger's Sydrome, a diagnosis "on the spectrum" was a character all by itself. And because of that, this book is a bit lacking. While Picoult did an excellent job of portraying the Aspergian character, the depth and frequency of his symptoms didn't ring true to the diagnosis. She attributed far too many symptoms to just one person. This isn't to say it wasn't helpful to the cause, but it muddled the character for me. He was too lost in too many symptoms and I ached to know him and not just his Aspergers. Perhaps a sign of overresearch or the wish to appease too many.

Picoult's books are merely fluff reading and I found myself needing a lighter read, so it fit perfectly into my summer. A murder, a mystery, and complex characters helped me zoom through this book. I saw through to the ending too quickly which often happens with her books, although My Sister's Keeper had me reeling with surprise ending, this one didn't.

I loved loved loved that the portrayal of the mother included all that she had sacrificed for the good of her son with Aspergers. That strong loving push towards an independent life is what allows children with Aspergers (or any child) to thrive. Her sacrifices to make sure he was getting the appropriate therapies, dietary changes, and most importantly, the love and acceptance all children need were brilliantly portrayed. I've always been fascinated by the dietary link with behavior and I thought Picoult was dead on with her research and the implications on Jacob's behavior when he was not on a strict dietary plan.

There is a tendency for us to label and to proclaim what normal must be. Children with autism are just as normal as any other child. And just like any other child they are different. That's what makes this world go around. We all have to find our place in this world and I think Picoult's book did an excellent job of celebrating Jacob's value to society and his independence.

So, only three stars, because of it's predictability. Still an enjoyable read and perhaps will help to generate more empathy towards this epidemic. Picoult's books are widely read and one can only hope that she helps enlighten many people.
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Reading Progress

06/29/2010 page 300
56.0% "Fluffy summer beach read. Loving it. Much insight on Aspergers."
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