From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and the modern classics My Sister’s Keeper, The Storyteller, and more, comes a “complex, compassionate, and smart” (The Washington Post) novel about a family torn apart by a murder accusation.
When your son can’t look you in the eye…does that mean he’s guilty?
Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger’s syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. He has a special focus on one subject—forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he’s always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he’s usually right.
But when Jacob’s small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob’s behaviors are hallmark Asperger’s, but they look a lot like guilt to the local police. Suddenly the Hunt family, who only want to fit in, are thrust directly in the spotlight. For Jacob’s mother, it’s a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, it’s another indication why nothing is normal because of Jacob.
And for the frightened small town, the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?
House Rules is “a provocative story in which [Picoult] explores the pain of trying to comprehend the people we love—and reminds us that the truth often travels in disguise” (People).
Perennial bestseller Picoult (Handle with Care) has a rough time in this Picoult-esque blend of medical and courtroom drama that lacks her usual storytelling finesse. Eighteen-year old Jacob Hunt has Asperger's syndrome, and his devoted single mother, Emma, has built their family's life around Jacob's needs, sacrificing her career to act as his caregiver and all but ignoring a younger son, Theo. But when Jacob is accused of murder, that carefully crafted life comes apart, and all of the hallmarks of Jacob's diagnosis begin to make him look guilty. Emma hires a young attorney whose attachment to Jacob brings him close to the family as he struggles to mount a defense for Jacob, whose inability to read social cues makes him less than an ideal client. While Picoult's research is impeccable and she deals intelligently with charged questions about autism and Asperger's, the whodunit is stretched sitcom-thin and handled poorly, with characters withholding information from the reader throughout. Picoult's writing, line by line, is as smooth as ever, and she does a great job of getting into Jacob's head, but the wobbly plotting is a massive detriment.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The book that started it all
This was my first book by her and I was hooked. I’ve read almost all of them now. And every time I find a new one I snatch it off the shelf. She really researched how someone with autism would respond and I was impressed with her dedication to getting it right. I love how she tells the story from the different view points and you feel like you’re looking the the characters eyes.
A Frustrating Read
There were just too many holes to make this book enjoyable. Why no one ever simply asked, “What happened?” somewhere along page 120, left the cloud of unreality over the entire rest of the book. It crossed over from entertainment to frustrating to just ridiculous and then to tedium. It was a huge disappointment to see this fine author succumb to such shoddy plot development. I fear she’s going the way of Mr. Grisham and Mr. Paterson who keep cranking out books without caring any more.
Great book. Couldn’t put it down
If you understand the main character you would totally understand the ending