Thursday, October 2, 2014

House Rules - The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings on Friday

House Rules - 2010
The main character in HOUSE RULES in an 18-year-old boy with Asperger's Syndrome, and if you read this book, you'll learn just about everything you ever wanted to know about this disorder (it's a form of autism). In the process you'll also get caught up in a well-written story. Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors and although I'll admit that House Rules isn't my favorite book of hers, I definitely enjoyed reading it and recommend it highly.

The author cites case studies of serial killers at intervals throughout the book (between some of the chapters) and the book starts with "Case 1: Sleep Tight." Here are the opening paragraphs from the story itself. 

Book Beginning:
Chapter 1 - Emma     
     Everywhere I look, there are signs of a struggle. The mail has been scattered all over the kitchen floor; the stools are overturned. The phone has been knocked off its pedestal, its battery pack hanging loose from an umbilicus of wires. There's one single faint footprint at the threshold of the living room, pointing toward the dead body of my son, Jacob.
     He is sprawled like a starfish in front of the fireplace. Blood covers his temple and his hands. For a moment, I can't move, can't breathe.
     Suddenly, he sits up. "Mom," Jacob says, "you're not even trying."

The Friday 56 (from Page 156 of my hardcover edition):
     When I was little, I remember wandering the cereal aisle (which surely is as American a phenomenon as fireworks on the Fourth of July) and picking my breakfast food based on what the reward was: a Frisbee with the Trix rabbit's face emblazoned on the front. Holographic stickers with the Lucky Charms leprechaun. A mystery decoder wheel. I could suffer through raisin bran for a month if it meant I got a magic ring at the end.

Genre: Literary Fiction / Women's Fiction
Length: 532 Pages (hardcover)
Amazon Link: House Rules
Other Books by this Author: Jodi Picoult's Website

     House Rules is about Jacob Hunt, a teenage boy with Asperger's Syndrome. He's  hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject--in his case, forensic analysis.
     He's always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do...and he's usually right. But then one day his tutor is found dead, and the police come to question him. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger's - not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, inappropriate affect - can look a heck of a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel -- and suddenly, Jacob finds himself accused of murder. HOUSE RULES looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way - but lousy for those who don't.


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Catherine @ Book Club Librarian said...

I haven't read this one, but I do enjoy this author's books from time to time.

My Friday post:

JC Jones said...

Interesting concept for the main character. Thanks for sharing.

Topazshell said...

I started this one. It's wonderful. Something happened had to stop reading it. Have intended to start it from the beginning again. I really liked it. I've never picked up a Jodi Picoult which wasn't interesting.

Katherine P said...

I have a cousin with Asperger's and while his focus isn't focus I can see this kind of situation spiraling out of control on him. Picoult is a tough read but always a good one. Glad you're enjoying this one even if it isn't your favorite!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I loved this book, just as I've loved all of Picoult's work. Some I love more than others, but this one brought me right into the midst of the emotion and the family struggles. Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “DANCE THE EAGLE TO SLEEP”

sherry fundin said...

My first thought was to skim over your post, but as I read more, I grew more curious. Your teases hooked me! Well done.
My Friday Memes The Crawl

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpts. I did include more of the opening than usual because I wanted to stop at a logical place. Otherwise, it would seem as if her son had actually been murdered! Instead, he'd just staged the crime scene for his mother to solve.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I've enjoyed all of Jodi Picoult's books. My only complaint with this one was that I thought she reiterated the characteristics of Asperger's a little too much.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I agree. This book was well worth reading.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

She is such an excellent author. Her meticulous research is obvious in every one of her stories.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Jodi Picoult does a great job of taking her readers inside her characters' heads.
You and I tend to enjoy the same authors, don't we? I'm looking forward to reading Dance The Eagle to Sleep.

Laura Thomas said...

I would love to read this book. At an early age my son was diagnosed as mildly autistic, then it was Asperger's. They haven't found a definite diagnosis but call it Severe Anxiety Disorder with Catastrophe Thinking. He just can't socialize. His mind takes him somewhere else a lot of the time. Especially in stressful situations, which is anywhere in public. Just reading about others and how they cope would be wonderful:) Thanks so much for sharing this book:)
Here is my 56 -

klgd2008 said...

I love Jodi Picoult. I've read quite a few of her books and this was one of my favorites.

Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

I've heard of Jodi Picoult, who hasn't? But I haven't read her work. Your opening for House Rules sure has me curious about this one!

Sandra Nachlinger said...

It seems there are so many "levels" in the autism spectrum and each case seems to be individual. Jodi Picoult's research shines a light on this disorder, and she teaches while weaving a compelling story.

Anonymous said...

I don't think they put toys into cereal boxes anymore. What a tragedy!

Sofia M. said...

This sounds really great, thanks for sharing and for stopping by my Friday Post!

Kathy Martin said...

I've been avoiding this author but this story sounds like one I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth said...

I haven't read a Jodi Picoult book in a while.

Thanks for sharing this title.

Silver's Reviews
My Book Beginnings

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Sandra,

The only Jodi Picoult books I have read, were a long time ago and long before I began blogging and recording my reviews, so I can't really recall any of the storylines in great detail.

Gifts and toys in creal packets, are very much an occasional event these days (at least here in the UK), although as a child, I can vividly remember collecting tokens from the packets to send off in exchange for gifts. We weren't allowed to choose cereal simply on the basis of the free gift however, practicality and price always played an important part in the shopping experience.

I don't know muc about Aspergers Syndrome, however there have been several reported cases of individuals with this, or similar syndromes, being able to help the poilce with their enquiries, with some fairly dramatic results.

I'm not sure about adding this one to my list, but I am pleased that you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing some excellent words.

Have a good weekend,


fredamans said...

I've heard many great things about her books and writing but have yet to read any.
Happy weekend!

Yvonne said...

This sounds so good. I want to read this one.

LadyD Piano said...

Thank you for bringing this book to my attention! I will recommend it to many friends. Sounds like a very compelling story that sure grabbed my attention.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I agree!

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Yvonne.

Elizabeth Phillips said...

I have never read a Jodi Picoult book before, but this really makes me interested in checking them out.

Tamara Epps said...

My brother has Asperger's so I'm intrigued by this book and definitely adding it to my TBR pile.

Cheryl said...

This sounds like a fascinating read. The beginning definitely captures your attention.

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