Janet Leszl's Reviews > House Rules

House Rules by Jodi Picoult
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's review
Jun 28, 2011

liked it
Read in June, 2011

At first I wanted to give this a higher rating but the more thought about it I can only give 3 stars.

First the positives: Jodi Picoult’s writing style is very entertaining and each section clearly identifies as from the perspective of the young man with Asperger syndrome, his brother, his mother, the detective or his attorney. She did a very good job in my opinion of demonstrating how this disorder presents challenges to everyone involved and illuminated hallmarks of the condition realistically for the most part. Repeatedly the author shows the resulting confusion from phrases which most people without Asperger’s know are not meant to be taken literally. I enjoyed reading their interactions and could totally relate to the family member’s frustrations over needing to adhere to what some might consider bizarre routines.

The negatives: It is clear the author did a good deal of research. However, she chose three times in the novel (which was published in 3/2010) to point the blame at pharmaceutical companies and vaccines for causing autism spectrum disorders. While Wakefield’s study was not definitively revealed as a fraud until 1/2011, there were numerous scientific studies which refuted this assertion and none which could confirm it. (Although, in her defense, there are still some who refuse to believe the multiple factual studies and continue to cling to the one proven to have been a fraudulent one.)

I also found it hard to believe the main character who was so obsessed with crime scene investigation would intentionally tamper with evidence even if it was as he perceived to follow one of his “house rules”. From all the "Crimebusters" shows he watched and rewatched he would have known how serious an offense that was. Finally, I also found it incredible to believe no one including family members or law enforcement ever asked him directly “Did you kill her?” or “Why did you kill her?”.

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