So many kids, I don't know what to do.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Book Review - House Rules by Jodi Picoult

When I first started to want a blog years ago. I envisioned it as a place where I could write, but more importantly write book reviews. Two things were stopping me, 1. I didn’t own a home computer, and 2. I had a complete lack of any technological knowledge. Six years later I still am suffering from 2, but I have decided to forge on. I read ALOT. Not as much as I used to, but I read alot. This by the way is my main qualification for writing reviews in case you are wondering. Second qualification- I know what I like. (I also do have a BLA in English/history, and I taught Am. Lit. for a few years before switching to history. Your call on whether or not that qualifies me.)

I recently read House Rules by Jodi Picoult. It is about a kid with Aspergers who is on trial for murder. I have had three students over the years with Aspergers, so it was interesting to compare. He has a brother in the story and much of the plot revolves around insights into how much of the mom's time and energy is taken up caring for the son with Aspergers and the resulting hard feelings. You can read a more detailed synopsis

I got so into the book, as I tend to do, that for a day and half after finishing it I continually talked to my own kids as if they were autistic. They didn’t notice.

The book was a tad better than decent. Entertaining. Somewhat predictable. Picoult is a talented writer and I admire her style, and word choice. I do get annoyed though with overtly obvious, thinly veiled foreshadowing and that is present in the story. I enjoy the way she shows the events from multiple points of view. However, it is hard to show those points of view without being repetitive and I did find myself wanting to skip to the end of some of the more redundant recounts. I felt like the ending was a vast improvement over the endings of the last two books I read of hers. (One more unsatisfactory ending and I was giving up on this author.) I would like to see Picoult break out of a bit of a rut. It seems the last three books I have read by here involve similar topics and situations.

My book rating system is based on suggested buying.

Best – Buy it new, hardback even.
Wait for the paperback version.
**Hold off until you come across it at the used book store.
Read it only if you can swipe it from a relative or friend.
Worst – Read the back of a cereal box instead.

It turns out I borrowed this one from Mom for free. Thanks Mom! It is a decent read from an author who always manages to explore family relationships in a way I had not thought about.

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