Oct 04, 10
Read from August 24 to September 30, 2010
Rules, by author Cynthia Lord, is a touching look at the life of a young girl, Catherine, who's coping with the conflicting emotions of living with her autistic brother, David. And I was coping with the conflicting emotions of annoyance and boredom of reading this book.
Catherine, a normal 12 year old girl, has a huge role and responsibility in the care-taking of her autistic brother, David. Catherine must balance the love and the responsibility she feels for David with the embarrassment and resentment that comes along with having a family member with autism. To help David, Catherine has written a set of 'rules' that he must follow in order to help him keep his anxiety under control, and to keep him in check in social situations. At one of David's therapy sessions Catherine meets a non-speaking boy in a wheelchair named Jason, and takes a sympathetic liking to him. She helps Jason build a vocabulary of index cards with words that he can point to and help him express his thoughts. But when Jason asks Catherine to a summer dance she is torn between showing him friendship and embarrassing herself in front of her new friend, Kris. Catherine is faced with a moral decision between what type of person she wants to be. And honestly, I didn't care much by the end of the story.
Rules has some great and touching moments and does a pretty good job at showing the conflict siblings must feel having a family member with a disability. At first the story took on the feel of an overly-dramatic teenage brat who wanted everyone to feel sorry for her. But as I kept reading I decided it was an honest look at what people actually go through. But Lord's annoying style of writing in 1st person present tense and her propensity of inventing not-so-clever-overly-hyphenated-but-extremely-distracting adjectives really got on my nerves. I think this book has merit, but it is going to be put on my almost-good-but-somehow-manages-to-bore-the-crap-out-of-me shelf.