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House Rules

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

27 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

Making Contact: What is it like to live with Asperger's Syndrome? Read this moving and insightful portrayal

Jodi Picoult's latest novel is a sensitive and moving insight into the lives of one family affected by Asperger's Syndrome. Jacob is an eighteen year old young man struggling to appear "normal" in a world that is NOT yet prepared to welcome him as he is. While unwitting...
Jodi Picoult's latest novel is a sensitive and moving insight into the lives of one family affected by Asperger's Syndrome. Jacob is an eighteen year old young man struggling to appear "normal" in a world that is NOT yet prepared to welcome him as he is. While unwittingly involving himself in a serious crime, Picoult manages to share with the reader the deepest feelings of his mother Emma, his younger brother Theo, and Jacob himself as he is forced to do the one thing that children with Asperger's find most impossible to do...to make contact with world; and in Jacob's case have his voice heard in our judicial system. Through Jacob we learn what it is truly like to live daily with the painful social isolation, eccentric behavior,and circumscribed passions of someone who struggles to just "fit in" and connect to others. From the moment you enter Jacob, Emma and Theo's life, Picoult skillfully teaches us about the pain and pleasure of having an Asperer's child in the family in vivid detail and with powerful imagery. Ironically,with this well written and absorbing novel, Picoult achieves the very contact with the reader that you will wish Jacob and others who struggle with this variant of Autism could do on their own.

posted by Nancy-Dash on April 10, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

17 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

One bright light in a sea of mediocrity

Jodi Picoult's latest book is redundant of her previous works, with the substitution of Jacob, a young man with Asperger's syndrome, for the character in previous disease (or social ill)-of-the-week plots. It's obvious Picoult's done a lot of research, and she appears t...
Jodi Picoult's latest book is redundant of her previous works, with the substitution of Jacob, a young man with Asperger's syndrome, for the character in previous disease (or social ill)-of-the-week plots. It's obvious Picoult's done a lot of research, and she appears to "nail" the character of Jacob. It's worth reading the chapters in his voice to learn about the thought process and behavior of a person with Asperger's. The other characters, however, are hardly more than cardboard cutouts. The mother is especially disappointing. How did this woman of strong educational background, great heart, and earnest endeavor, who has worked tirelessly and successfully to champion her son in the bureaucracy of education, do so without finding allies along the way to aid her when facing the challenge of a new bureaucracy in the court system? And how is it that the skills learned in a school setting were so difficult to transfer to the bureaucracy of a court setting? That just didn't ring true. Also, parents who work so hard through the system on behalf of their special-needs children are generally not taken by surprise when the child turns 18 and is considered an adult by the outside world; they work ahead of time to prepare for that eventuality, especially in this day and age when medical personnel can't even discuss care matters of an 18+-y.o. child without a signed release.

My advice: ignore the substandard plot and flat characters of most chapters, and just go for the gold: Jacob's voice. There's much to be learned there from a character worth getting to know.

posted by 299112 on March 14, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    One bright light in a sea of mediocrity

    Jodi Picoult's latest book is redundant of her previous works, with the substitution of Jacob, a young man with Asperger's syndrome, for the character in previous disease (or social ill)-of-the-week plots. It's obvious Picoult's done a lot of research, and she appears to "nail" the character of Jacob. It's worth reading the chapters in his voice to learn about the thought process and behavior of a person with Asperger's. The other characters, however, are hardly more than cardboard cutouts. The mother is especially disappointing. How did this woman of strong educational background, great heart, and earnest endeavor, who has worked tirelessly and successfully to champion her son in the bureaucracy of education, do so without finding allies along the way to aid her when facing the challenge of a new bureaucracy in the court system? And how is it that the skills learned in a school setting were so difficult to transfer to the bureaucracy of a court setting? That just didn't ring true. Also, parents who work so hard through the system on behalf of their special-needs children are generally not taken by surprise when the child turns 18 and is considered an adult by the outside world; they work ahead of time to prepare for that eventuality, especially in this day and age when medical personnel can't even discuss care matters of an 18+-y.o. child without a signed release.

    My advice: ignore the substandard plot and flat characters of most chapters, and just go for the gold: Jacob's voice. There's much to be learned there from a character worth getting to know.

    17 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2010

    Too Long - Disappointing Ending

    I don't mind at all reading big books if they're engrossing. This one was not. Although the main character of Jacob, who is autistic, was interesting, I found myself getting really annoyed with some of the rest of the people (his mother, his lawyer, the cop). The "mystery" dragged out way too long and then was "solved" within 2 practically throw-away paragraphs on page 526 (of 532), and we don't find out what happens to any of the main characters after the "big reveal." After investing a fair amount of time in reading this book, I found it to be very disappointing.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Great but not bad

    This book had a great story to tell. I have yet to read a book with this kind of story line from the perspective of someone with Autism. The story line was in fact engaging but where it falls short are the characters. Normally Jodi Picoult's books have so many fascinating characters and with this one I really have to say that only one or maybe two of the characters caught my attention. I even found myself speed reading the chapters of the characters I had no interest in. I will say that she made Jacob very believable. I can only assume because I have personally never had the pleasure of knowing anyone with autism but it did seem very believable to me. Sadly this one not one of her best. Allot of her first books they hold you from page one and you just can't put it down, this one not so much. It is a great thing when your favorite authors become popular because then you get to read more of their books at a faster pace BUT at the same time they start to churn them out so fast and they fall short. In the end I was glad I borrowed it from the library and not paid the money to purchase it.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2011

    had problem with the portrayal of an aspie child

    As a mom with a aspie child, I had a problem with how Jacob talked about himself in the first Jacob chapter. Most aspie kids write in logical format and cannot describe why they are feeling a certain way, they just know that they do, therefore, they react. They have a problem with being insightful and I could not get past the first person of Jacob to get through the rest of the book. I am sure the author did much research on the traits of the child, as the "mom" describes the behaviors to a T - it's the Jacob part that I had a problem with - just too chatty vs logical straight forward thinking.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    Disappointing

    I wanted to read this book because my son has AS and I wanted to read about a character like him. I wanted to like the book and the author and tried to separate my feelings on autism (blaming it on vaccines? Really?) from the plot and characters. In the end I was disappointed in the entire plot, characters, and ending. I couldn't believe the contrivances that were so neatly thrown together in the last few pages, and was disappointed in the abrupt ending and stereotypical characters. In contrast, "Nineteen Minutes" wove a real story and led up to a painful ending and had closure (for lack of a better word)for the main characters. Here, Jacb's mother is supposed to understand him and how he processes information beter thanevery other character, but even she gets caught up in the misunderstanding? The trial was a trial to read, when it should have been the most interesting part of the book.

    (On a personal note, my son doesn't take 3 dozen supplements, he gets a Flintstone vitamin, he eats what we all eat, there are no Blue Fridays. Emma as a mom of a son with AS was not believable to me, because she and Theo were slaves to Jacob's routine, no exceptions, instead of helping him cope with the world, she enabled him to never have to do those things and expected everyone else to do the same.)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    LONG book.....

    J.P. is one of my favorite authors and let me say this book was long and many times, it felt LONG. This book did not need to be 500 pages. While I enjoyed getting to know the characters of the brothers, the other characters fell flat. Even the mother who has the most emotional and complex story to tell was not nearly as interesting as she could have been. I will continue to be a J.P. fan as I really enjoy her style of writing but this book was definitely not my favorites.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    I actually started reading this book when it first came out, but

    I actually started reading this book when it first came out, but I just couldn't get into it. After reading Lone Wolf, my love for Jodi Picoult books was back. I decided to give House Rules another try. Ive gotten more into the book this time, but still am not liking itt. Definitly my least favorite of Jodi's.

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  • Posted February 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended!

    I read this book about a year ago and recently was discussing teens and all they had to overcome with my sister. I was referring to several excerpts from this book unknowingly and then realized what I was doing. I remembered part of the title and then went to the local library and picked up a copy for her yesterday.
    This book had stuck in my head! It made such an impression I just had to pass it on to her. The obstacles this family had to scale and misunderstanding they had to endure were just typical profiling and needed to be broached. It made an excellent point that people in a position of authority that can influence life-altering decisions should have more psychological background in their post-secondary education. Thank you, Jodi, for pulling these injustices out into the light yet again! I loved House Rules.

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Not a fan

    I guess Im just not a fan of hers. I tried but her stories really aren't for me. A terrific writer but I really need a book that keeps things going. I think she is too depressing. Sorry.

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  • Posted September 9, 2011

    The end is very disappointing

    I thought that the book was good besides the end. It leaves you with more questions than answers. Frustrating!

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  • Posted June 20, 2011

    Ok

    Big fan of picoult, not a big fan of this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2010

    Not her best, but good info on Asbergers.

    I personally wanted more on the ending. I felt too much went unanswered.

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    waste of time, but good character developement

    The best part about this book is the character developement and the romance. The ending is so predictable, however, that Im tempted to never read another book written by her, and I used to be a huge fan. It was a disappointment to say the least!

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  • Posted December 17, 2010

    Reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult

    Like the story but feel like the writing is too simplistic....like a book written for a pre-teen.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    Disappointing

    I was disappointed in this book. Other than the excellent writing skills of J. Picoult and abundant information on kids with Asperger's syndrome, it did not offer much. The plot is about a boy with Asperger's who is accused of murdering his social skills tutor. The description of the crime is repeated over and over and over for no good reason. And while I waited to find out who the actual killer was and what exactly happened, the explanation that was offered was so insufficient and lame, that I felt sorry I spent my time reading this book. I recommend 19 Minutes and My Sisters Keeper from this author, but as far as her other books are concerned, so far I have been disappointed several times.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Not her best

    I keep buying Jodi's books hoping for something that really got to me, like The Pact, but I keep getting disappointed. This book was so predictable. I figured out what happened very early on and only finished reading to see if I was right. Her stories seem to follow the same pattern. There are usually two siblings, one resents the other for some reason, there is a secret, and then they end up in court. She needs to change up her plot lines.

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  • Posted March 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An Easy Read For All.

    The book started out pretty well and the author gives a great deal of attention and knowledge to autisum. Every chapter is told by 1 of about 6 characters which gets annoying. I preferred when either the son Jacob or his brother told the story. Overall a pretty good book but not a great.
    KP in MN

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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