Review of House Rules by Jodi Picoult


House Rules is a captivating and poignant story about a teen with Aspergers, an overwhelmed mother, and a sibling who feels invisible. Emma’s marriage disintegrated when her husband decided that a chaotic household, and a son with Aspergers was more than he had bargained for.  So he divorced Emma shortly after Jacob was diagnosed at the age of three, even though their youngest son, Theo, was just a baby.  Henry left Emma with the burden of raising their two boys, and managing the home and Jacob’s idiosyncrasies House Rules by Jodi Picoultand outbursts alone.

Unbeknownst to Emma, while she was busy concentrating her energies on developing coping skills for Jacob, her youngest son, Theo, was slipping and fading from reality, choosing to live in a fantasy world instead.

Detective Matson was one of the few men who Emma trusted and confided in.  The fact that he took an interest in Jacob touched and warmed her heart.   But when the Detective arrested Jacob, and charged him with a felony, Emma was beside herself, and the strong super-mom armor, that normally held her together, crumbled.

Panic stricken, and feeling as if every nerve in her body was frayed, Emma drove like a maniac to the nearest law firm.  Once there, she burst through the office door and pleaded for help. Oliver Bond Esq. saw that the woman staring him down, was teetering on the very edge of losing control. So the inexperienced, very green lawyer stood up and told Emma that he would take on her son as a client.

House Rules is a fascinating story that gives the reader a noteworthy insight into the Aspie mind.  Although Jodi Picoult does an extraordinary job describing in detail the different characteristics of Aspergers, it would have been more realistic if she had given Jacob a few of them, rather than the entire list.

I loved House Rules, unrealistic courtroom drama and all, and would have given it five stars, if the book had only had an ending.  I was flabbergasted when I came to the end of the 500 plus page book, and found that all of the loose ends that I was waiting to find answers to, were still left, unanswered and untied.   Why an author would want to leave their readers unsatisfied and in the dark is beyond me.

3 out of 5 stars, Review by Peg Glover