House Rules – Heartbreaking and Heartwarming At The Same Time

I am part of an awesome group on Facebook that has 10k other readers like me (10k as of this instant). Every day, there are scores of discussions on books and reading, not to forget the long list of book recommendations that the members dole out. Thanks to this group, I built up a TBR (To Be Read) list of more than 500 books. So a few months ago, I started acting on this list and bought a few books (to put it modestly). And author Jodi Picoult was one of them.

The most highly praised of Picoult’s books in the group were My Sister’s Keeper and Picture Perfect, according to my observation. But when I read through the summary of House Rules, I was intrigued and I immediately snapped it up at a relatively cheap price. Though I bought three of Picoult’s books earlier, it was House Rules that I read first. And I am glad I did so. I must say I love the book, though I have a few complaints about its repetitiveness.

Asperger’s Syndrome is a personality disorder that falls on the autism spectrum. It severely limits the patient’s social and communication skills, making them socially awkward. They have triggers that lead them into meltdowns. For example, bright lights, noises, and colors. They think rules are infallible, like Picoult puts it. Any slight change in their routine leads to a meltdown, too.

All this I’ve learned from House Rules.

18-year-old Jacob Hunt from Vermont is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome because of a vaccination that he was administered when he was a kid. But he is also accused of murdering his social skills tutor, Jess Ogilvy. His mother, Emma Hunt, does all she can to keep him out of prison, approaching newbie lawyer, Oliver Bond. And though his brother Theo feels that his life would be much better without Jacob, he still stands by him throughout the trial. But is he innocent? More importantly, do Emma, Theo, and Oliver believe that he is innocent?

I loved how Picoult has shown the unconditional love that comes with being family. Jacob’s unintentional lack of empathy makes you want to jump into the pages and hug him, though he won’t like it. Picoult has written the book in a way that will make you empathize and identify with every character in its pages. You’ll understand what they are thinking and feeling. I love this book mainly because of this.

The only complaint I have with House Rules is that it seems to drag on and on. Facts are repeated over and over and over again and this exasperated me a little. It’s like, “You had just said this a few chapters ago.” I don’t have a problem with long books. In fact, the longer the book, the better I feel because I know I can live that universe for a little longer. My only peeve is with those books that repeat information/scenarios every few chapters.

Either way, the beauty and poignancy of the book trumps the repetitiveness that seems to hover like a cloud over it. Hands down!

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Picture Courtesy: amazon.co.uk !

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