C.G. Drews's Reviews > House Rules

House Rules by Jodi Picoult
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really liked it
bookshelves: 4-star, adult, read-2015, thriller-crime, autism

Considering I just a) finally read a book by the famous Jodie Picoult, b) read an adult book when I'm like a 99% YA reader, and c) enjoyed it, and d) it was freakishly huge but I survived...I THINK I GET A SOME SORT OF REWARD. But oh wow oh wow, where do I even start? This was rather incredible. I've had a slew of sucky reads lately, but this totally captivated me. It had the WHODUNNIT vibe. It helped me learn more about Asperger's. And it reminded me that not all adult books are scary, but shhhhh. Don't let my Peter Pan soul hear that.

The thing I liked most about this book were the characters. They were so REAL. They all had flaws and quirks and half the time I couldn't even figure out if I liked them. It's narrated by 5 POVs, and I admit, that isn't my favourite. I like things to be concise. I think all the characters were still quite fleshed out, but the book is freakishly huge. It definitely took the time to make everyone feel real. BUT. It was far too long, in my humble but yet fabulous opinion.

So a quickie look at the 5 narrators:
+ Jacob: He's the 18 year old with Aspergers who gets convicted of murdering his tutor. Did he do it? He looks guilty...he says the wrong stuff...even his family isn't 100% sure. I always found his chapters super interesting, although he did go off on super specific tangents (as Apergers people do) that had nothing to do with the story. I'm a pretty focused reader and I want to get to the POINT. But anyway, it was so interesting because his POV always seemed so logical, and yet, from, say, his mother's POV, he looked so unstable. It goes to show people perceive things so differently, right?
+ Emma: She's the mother and basically her entire existence is bent to helping Jacob. He's not severely autistic. He functions fine, but has meltdowns when things happen unexpectedly or his routine is jarred -- so she's there to pick up pieces from meltdowns. Like, she's seriously a fantastic person. Her chapters were always interesting. But she ANNOYED me too, because she acted so deluded. (Like Jacob has a thing about recreating crime scenes, it's his hobby, and she totally lets him do this WHILE he's in the middle of a murder investigation. How about no?? How about use your brain, woman??) And she totally neglected her second son. She should NOT have done that. I get that it's hard, and she had a rough gig being a single-parent to an autistic kid...but she was so over-the-top sometimes it made me feel uncomfortable reading it.
+ Theo: he's the second son, the youngest who has to act like the oldest. Okay, but I found Theo a bit creepy. He has this "Thing" where he goes into other people's houses and just imagines what their lives would be like. IS THAT NOT CREEPY??? He quit that after his brother gets convicted, but oh gosh, that was what disturbed me most, I think. I felt really bad for Theo. But he was also super selfish. (view spoiler)
+ Rich: He's the cop/detective in charge of the case. At the beginning I quite liked him...he's struggling as a single parent and it was easy to empathise with his view point. bUT THEN HE WENT AND WAS A JERK. He was really dismissive of disabilities/disorders. I guess he's a good reminder that there are always people who won't believe someone can be severely different...but. Yes. I didn't like him.
+ Oliver: He's the lawyer. I liked his chapters almost least, because I felt like Oliver was a liar. He needed the case, so he took it when Emma came crying to him...but in truth? He was a cause of a lot of the problems because he didn't know what he was doing. LIAR, OLIVER, LIAR.

I really liked the writing style, too! SURPRISED? I AM SURPRISED. I usually find adult books too wordy, and YES, this one had way too many pages, but I felt they added in a heck of a lot of scenes that didn't have to be there. Whereas the writing was actually (mostly) crisp. When it got to the court case it was just repetition all the time, which was dull, but I suppose that's how court cases work. I also feel like the book was exceptionally well researched. Awesomeness.

Ahhh, but for a book about Aspergers...it sure failed on a few levels. Oh, I'm not saying the research was bad! I'm just calling out the ironies! For instance
a) Jacob will have a meltdown every time he sees orange. THE BOOK COVER IS FREAKING ORANGE. (?!!)
b) It kept changing fonts...gosh, books need to be all in one font.
c) The ending is NOT black and white.

I totally enjoyed this one! I was on the edge of my seat (okay, I totally was lounging in my bed, but whatever, FIGURATIVELY) and though I solved the case, maybe, halfway through the book...I still wasn't sure and needed the answers. Also there's heaps of facts about crime scene investigation here, which is awesome (um...ahem) particularly if you like books like The Killer Book of Cold Cases: Incredible Stories, Facts, and Trivia from the Most Baffling True Crime Cases of All Time and The Killer Book of True Crime: Incredible Stories, Facts and Trivia from the World of Murder and Mayhem...which I, um, happen to like. So all the facts and details were so interesting. I'd definitely read more of Jodie Picoult's books! After a small nap and possibly an excursion back into YA and it's small concise books because...reasons.

Also for fans of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time.

PS.Not all the covers are orange I just realised! But the edition I read was, and it's more the spine and back is orange, which you can't even see, but whatever.
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Reading Progress

June 24, 2015 – Shelved
June 24, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
July 5, 2015 – Started Reading
July 5, 2015 –
page 110
17.43% "Okay but the most disturbing thing is the little brother who goes into random houses and just wanders around touching things. OMG STAHP."
July 6, 2015 –
page 293
46.43% "AGH. UNFAIRNESS IN BOOKS IS UNFAIR. Why don't you just give me a papercut and pour lemon juice on it? omg."
July 7, 2015 – Shelved as: 4-star
July 7, 2015 – Shelved as: adult
July 7, 2015 – Shelved as: read-2015
July 7, 2015 – Shelved as: thriller-crime
July 7, 2015 – Finished Reading
October 5, 2015 – Shelved as: autism

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Ally (new) - added it

Ally (The Scribbling Sprite) *gasp* You have successfully Adulted.

C.G. Drews OMG I KNOW. HOW DO I MAKE IT STOP. *runs for Neverland*

message 3: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Chesak !!!!!!!!!!!!!! My Sister's Keeper and Nineteen Minutes are also quite good, and I read about half of Sing You Home before it had to go back to the library, that was good too. :P

Abigail Yay for branching out! *showers you with every sort of lovely sugary delight*

Emily Mead Engie is right, My Sister's Keeper and Nineteen Minutes are AWESOME, and also Handle With Care OH and The Pact. YAY so glad you liked it :D

message 6: by rachel (new)

rachel I am glad you managed to enjoy this one. Great review, Cait! It was my first Jodi Picoult book too and it was so LOOOOONG (for a contemporary/mystery) that I don't know how I got through it. I wasn't as impressed as you were though as some of the aspects of Jacob's Asperger's weren't quite correct and that ending was such a killer - we never know what happens!

C.G. Drews @Rachel: Ohh, I'm curious...what parts of the Aspergers weren't correct?

message 8: by rachel (new)

rachel @Cait It wasn't so much that she got them "wrong" it is just that she used ALL the possible symptoms/signs of both autism and Aspergers (different diagnosis) and made Jacob have them in the very extreme - it's like she exaggerated everything, like the certain coloured food on certain days thing. It was very textbook Aspergers and not realistic. Some of Jacob's traits were also more common of OCD or a compulsive disorder rather than Aspergers.

She also used the word illness in reference to Aspergers - from what I remember - and that isn't the right term as autism/Aspergers is a genetic disorder.

C.G. Drews @Rachel: I did feel the the talk of the "cure" was a bit unusual off, since aspergers isn't a mental illness, right? It's just the way you are. And it did seem textbook. *nods* I totally appreciate your view point on this!

message 10: by rachel (new)

rachel @Cait Thanks Cait! I hope you didn't think I was being picky or preachy but my mum is a disability worker so I a little experience about this sort thing. And yeah, aspergers is a neurodevelopmental disorder, not a mental illness. I'm glad I was able to spread a little wisdom. *proudly puffs out chest with an small, probably awkward smile*

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