Review of House Rules by Jodi Picoult

                                                                                                                                Sarah’s Pick

 In best selling Jodi Picoult’s latest book we meet Jacob Hunt, a teenager with Asperger’s syndrome.  Jacob has an obsessive interest in forensic analysis; and often knows more about a crime scene than the local police.  When his tutor, Jess, goes missing and her body is later found wrapped in Jacob’s quilt he is questioned by police. 

They do not understand that his avoidance of eye contact and inappropriate gestures and comments can be attributed to his Asperger’s syndrome.

I was interested in Jacob’s explanation of how the world appears to him and how he struggles to make his way in it,  He is easily upset by change to his routine or an over stimulating environment.  he likes routine and to follow rules (hence the title of the novel).  He knows he is different to the other kids at school.  He says "For me, being in social situations – whether that’s school, or Thanksgiving dinner, or the line at the movies – is like moving to Lithuania, when you haven’t studied Lithuanian."

It is also interesting to see the effect on Jacob’s mother, Emma.  Her husband left her when Jacob was three and his younger brother, Theo, was a baby.  She has organised her life around Jacob – working from home, constantly trying to make his path easier.  This is sometimes to the detriment of Theo who has his own secret that will effect Jacob’s trial.

The book is told from various perspectives in brief chapters.  This allows readers to see things from various sides of the story.  Mainly we hear from Jacob, Emma, and Theo but also from Jacob’s inexperienced lawyer and the police officer investigating the disappearance and death of Jess.  The brief chapters also keep the reader interested and wanting to read "just one more chapter" until the conclusion.