Book Review: House Rules

What the heck do I know about writing a book review?  Absolutely nothing.

So here goes.

Today I'll be discussing the book, House Rules by Jodi Picoult.  Admitedly, I'm the last to get on the Jodi Picoult bandwagon.  And I'd like to share with you how I got on.  I was browsing the book section at my favorite literary boutique, Costco, picked up this book, flipped it over, saw the word, "Aspergers" and put it in my cart.  Period.

Those of you with children on the spectrum may be where I found myself.  When my son was diagnosed I started reading.  Everything and anything I could get my hands on.  Either in the physical sense or the virtual sense.  Books, internet, magazines, medical journals, you name it.  I read it.  And after awhile my eyes began to cross and my head began spin and my heart began to hurt and my blood pressure started to rise.

And so I stopped. 

For about 2 years.

So I bought this book and it sat on my nightstand for a few weeks until one day.........."Why not?"   It called to me.

I. Could. Not. Put. This. Book. Down.

To say it was compelling is a gross understatement. 

Minor digression for a moment:   When I watched the Temple Grandin movie, I watched it because of, yanno... Temple Grandin.   However, I found myself strangely interested in the cattle/meat processing aspect of the story - a topic I had previously never, EVER thought about. 

House Rules sort of did that to me.  It was a GREAT book that just so happened to have this other "character" in the book.  Autism. 

And that's what made me love this book so.  It was not "about" autism.  Jodi Picoult did not set out to change anyone's mind about autism.  She didn't write this book with the purpose of educating the masses about autism.

Wait, did she?

Because here's where it's sneaky.  Jodi did her homework.  It's rare that people "report" on autism for the purposes of "entertainment" and I can say, "Yep, that's totally accurate."  But in this case, I could.  Granted, Jacob's Asperger's may not look like everyone else's, but everything that Jacob experienced is REAL.   So just as you learn about Jacob's mom, and Jacob's brother, and crime scene investigations, and the fictional murder that transpires, guess what?  You just learned about the other "character" in the book.  Autism.   Whether you wanted to or not.  Whether you meant to or not. 

Because it's a GREAT character.

Well written, accurate, interesting, different, challenging, colorful (literally!), amazing, and fascinating all at once.

And not one time did I get that "I'm-uncomfortable-reading-about-autism" feeling.  In fact, I was EXCITED reading this book.  For a lot of reasons.  Jodi Picoult did not make autism ugly or scary.  She made it interesting yes, real, yes, but scary no.  Uncomfortable?  At times.  Welcome to the world of autism.    What else made me excited is that I know that this book debuted at the top of the NYT best sellers list.  That means that the masses who read this book learned a thing or two about autism.  WIN!

The thing I loved the most about this book was that it was written from different perspectives.  Jacob, who has Asperger's and what it feels like living inside his mind.  Theo, Jacob's brother....what it's like to be a sibling of someone on the spectrum.  Heartbreaking and yet somehow inspiring.  Emma, Jacob and Theo's mother -- a truly awesome portrayal of what an autism mama will do to help her son.  Not just during the big scary hard times but also during day to day life.  You also get a glimpse here and there from the therapist, the detective, and finally the attorney ~ well........... I don't want to reveal too much! 

Aside from the autism connection -- it's a spellbinding story.  No, I'm no literary genius.  But I know what I like to read.  And I liked to read this book.  I LOVED to read this book.  This book made me happy on many levels.

And at the end of the day (which is when I usually do my reading anyway) that's REALLY the only thing that matters to me.  Did reading this book bring me happiness?  Resounding YES!!!!!!!!!!

Click here to zoom to amazon and buy the book.  You won't regret the $8.64.   You'll laugh, cry, and learn a thing or two.  What a great way to spend an afternoon.  Enjoy!


  1. Also LOVE Jodi Picoult and need to read this one!

  2. I bought this book for the same reason you did. I haven't read it yet, but I should after reading your review!

  3. I really enjoyed this book. It was an easier read so it relaxed me. As someone with Asperger Syndrome I could definitely empathize with Jacob. However, I don't appear to have it as severely as Jacob. I thought that the ending was very touching.


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