Saturday, March 17, 2012

‘House Rules’ by Jodi Picoult

Book cover: House Rules by Jodi Picoult. Cover image depicts a child kneeling at the shoreline of a lake
My feelings about House Rules by Jodi Picoult are mixed. First of all, the protagonist — a young man with Asperger syndrome — is 18 years old, but the cover art depicts a child.

The choice of cover art is symptomatic of a society that addresses autism as if only children had it. Its awareness of adults seems limited to those children who are aging out of services.

I experienced the novel as an audio recording, which enhanced its use of multiple narrators.

The story itself was entertaining — primarily a mystery/crime drama — but the mother interjects political tirades promoting a belief that vaccines cause autism.

I found the mother’s tirades to be pointless distractions from the story.

The best parts of the book are when the young protagonist narrates the story; he is interested in forensics and often appears at crime scenes that he listened in via scanner. This interest in forensics contributes to his being accused of a young woman’s murder.

I had a pretty good idea early on what really happened at the scene for which the protagonist is accused of murder; but there was still an aspect of surprise in reserve.

This review has its origin in an email correspondence between me and a person who sought my input about the book.

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