Carolyn Gerk's Reviews > House Rules

House Rules by Jodi Picoult
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Aug 03, 2011

it was ok

** spoiler alert ** I don't know why I do this to myself. I picked this book up because someone who read it and didn't want to keep it gave it away (thus, it was free). I wanted to read something that would be a breeze ( I have read Picoult before and find her writing style easy to fly through). However, having read Picoult before, I should have remembered that she keeps writing the same damn book!
Yes, family in crisis, insert court case, insert forgotten sibling with bigger problems than others realize, insert one sibling taking the fall for another, insert catty lawyer with dog.....etc etc etc. Hey, is this My Sister's Keeper or what?
Anyway, it took about twenty minutes to figure out what had happened in this murder 'mystery', but I kept fooling myself thinking that there must be some twist I didn't expect. And, after so very many descriptions of Asperger's traits, including the fact that the main character, an 'Aspie' needs to be spoken to very directly and literally, how could Picoult string us along chapter after chapter after chapter as people in Jacob's life continually phrase questions in such a way that he is not forced to explain what happened?? Not to mention the fact that , as a person with Asperger's Jacob would have difficulty with turns of phrase, such as, 'get the picture' and 'what do you say?'. And yet, Picoult continually tosses in phrases that seem to stray pretty far from the literal speech you would expect Jacob to use. One of the first that I noticed was when Jacob mentions the Pythagorean theorem and how it was developed not by him, but by his ancestors.....before he was even 'a seductive twinkle in their eye'. Sounds like something of an odd turn of phrase to me. This happens on a number of occasions and I began to feel irritated by some of the narrative, thinking, this doesn't sound like something this kid should say.
She seemed to flip flop on a lot of her 'symptoms'. Now, if Jacob had been consistently, painfully literal, it may have made for a really dull six hundred pages, but maybe, just maybe, it didn't need to be six hundred pages.
Somehow, Jacob's mother, who shoves her knowledge of Autism and Aspergers down the throats of everyone involved, never thinks that she should ask her son literal step by step questions about what went on the day he allegedly murdered his tutor.
Pfft, yeah right. That alone made this whole novel ridiculous. Filled with a whole bunch of turmoil, angst, and wondering: how did my son do this? How did my brother murder this girl? How did this happen.....but never asking the kid who has already been identified as rather incapable of lying.
The only reason this even gets two stars is because Jacob's story revolving around his treatment and his normal, high school life interested me. I have researched Autism and Asperger's and have worked with children and adults with high and low functioning autism. Jacob was really the only character in this novel who had an excuse to make the mistakes presented. I pretty much wanted to punch every other character in the head.
Wheeeeew. Rage complete. Good bye Jodi Picoult, this is the last time I will waste time on another one of your cookie cutter family crime dramas.
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Reading Progress

August 3, 2011 – Started Reading
August 3, 2011 – Shelved
August 3, 2011 –
page 10
1.88% "I don't know why I'm doing this to myself"
August 5, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-10)

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Carolyn Gerk Ok, one more rant......Jacob, who should be painfully honest and literal, sure chooses the right times to be unrealistically cryptic, huh?
Emma: Oh, honey, what did you do?
Jacob: the right thing.

WHAT? Pfft.

message 9: by Meredith (new) - added it

Meredith O'Donnell Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel :o)

Carolyn Gerk Ha ha ha, maybe it was a little much.

message 7: by Meredith (new) - added it

Meredith O'Donnell haha I don't care, was just amused...I'm only on page 77...don't know how I feel yet. Either way, I'm fine with your strong response :o)

Claudette I completely agree with your review. This is also my last Picoult book. I have read 2 others, and this is exactly the same story with a few details changed. Oh, and 100 pages too long! Oh, and an ending that .. um.. just ends!

message 5: by Sam (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sam I agree with you completely! I'm so glad others feel the same as me, makes me feel better! I usually love Picoult's books but this one frustrated me so much! My rant over haha!

Carolyn Gerk Nice to hear I'm not just a raving lunatic on my own! I know an awful lot of picoult fans who look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them about this book ;)

Suzen I totally agree!

Carolyn Gerk I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one out here who sees through Picoult's writing 'skill'.

Jennifer Totally agree too. I wouldn't have finished the book had it not been part of my book club. I thought if they dance around asking him one more time I'm going to chuck this book across the room! Haven't read any Picoult before, but don't think I will read any more.

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