Rebecca's Reviews > House Rules

House Rules by Jodi Picoult
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's review
Mar 29, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: book-club, books-i-own

This is the first Jodi Picoult I've ever read, so I didn't really come into it with any preconceived ideas. I see in the reviews that people are complaining about her using the same devices over and over again, but since this is my first exposure, I didn't see any of that and it didn't bother me.

I really enjoyed this, 3 stars aside; again, why can't we have half stars? I found the multiple perspectives to be very interesting, and each voice was very distinctly different, although I could have done without the different fonts in each chapter; that just made my eyes hurt. I didn't really mind the present tense writing, since it made the whole thing seem more urgent and immediate, although that's normally a major pet peeve of mine.

I was really impressed with her research, and also the deep, raw emotion she conveyed through the different voices. I have been a caregiver and a child of a caregiver, so I identified deeply with Emma and Theo. I have worked with people in the situation of Jacob, so I felt for him. I have been the attorney beating his (her) head against a wall trying to help a client who acts for all the world like he doesn't want help, although it's really his inability to express it, or to offer thanks. And I've worked with the officers and the DAs and their macabre humor, not used out of disrespect, but as a defensive mechanism to deal with what they have to see day in and day out.

I have also had the phone calls with the therapists who want to talk bout their political beliefs about drugs and vaccines, and that's nice, SHUT UP ALREADY YOU'RE HURTING THE CLIENT. So I found the book deeply upsetting, not because the content bothered me, but because it went straight to my gut and almost made me queasy. That's why it's 3 stars, because while I liked it, it made my stomach churn too much for me to really say I enjoyed it. Although if I ever teach the class I hope to one day about representing parents and children in the system because of mental disabilities, I think this will be required reading.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Just a thought on the changing fonts: Scott Turow did that in Ordinary Heroes to great effect. He was telling two different stories from two different perspectives (it's about a guy in the 2000s who stumbles upon his dad's journals from World War II, so you can see how the different font would be very effective). That book also has my favorite quote ever: "Who are we, but the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and believe?"

Rebecca I've heard that quote, I didn't know that's the book it came from. I can see the different fonts being helpful there. This book had at least 5, I think, different voices with different fonts, and that's where it just got too much. Two to show distinctly different eras and processes and mediums seems like that would work well.

message 3: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy It was really good. The World War II era stuff was in a courier-type font (but easier on the eyes) and the modern stuff was in a more modern font. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. Either that or Reversible Errors is his best, imho.

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