House Rules

House Rules

by Jodi Picoult
4.1 2152

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House Rules 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2152 reviews.
Nancy-Dash More than 1 year ago
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 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Emma Hunt has dedicated her life to her son Jacob who suffers with Asperger's syndrome. Her sacrifice has come with personal lost and cost as her career was pushed aside; her ex-husband Henry the computer programmer left as he worked at home and could not concentrate with the tantrums; and her other son Theo three years younger than Jacob is expected to watch over him when mom cannot, but ignored otherwise by her as he cannot even get his permit. She lives to protect Jacob and Theo understands that the prime house rule is take care of your brother. However, her efforts to give her soon a life fall apart when the police charge eighteen years old Jacob with the murder of Jess Ogilvy. His inability to understand non verbal signs and comprehend social nuances puts Jacob at risk. Desperate, she hires Oliver O. Bond as Jacob's lawyer. This is a super look at Asperger's Syndrome, but not just the person suffering from it, but also the impact on family members especially Theo. The murder mystery tales a back seat even in the courtroom to how Henry thinks and reacts to senses overload, which can be simply crinkling of paper. Rotating perspective between family members, the lawyer and others, fans obtain a deep look at the total impact of Asperger's Syndrome. Harriet Klausner
Didun More than 1 year ago
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.
Sojaded More than 1 year ago
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.
hannahprescott More than 1 year ago
Emma Hunt, who is almost entirely focused on helping her eighteen-year-old son, Jacob, who has Asperser's syndrome, learn to communicate with his family and peers. Emma's life is complicated by the fact that her husband, Henry, left shortly after their younger son, Theo, was born. Fifteen-year-old Theo deeply resents the amount of time and money that his mother lavishes on his older brother. Jacob possesses so much knowledge on the subject of forensics; he could truly aid the investigators, which gets him into deep trouble However, although Jacob is very intelligent, what he sorely lacks is social skills. To help Jacob, his mother Emma hires, Jess, a pretty grad student to tutor Jacob in developing social skills. This is a compelling, thought-provoking story that grabs you right off the bat and holds your attention throughout.
plou More than 1 year ago
Once more Jodi Picoult has given us an outstanding novel which not only entertains, but also clearly brings to light the dilemmas which families who have children with a behavioral disability have to live with every day. I couldn't wait to read this book and had a hard time putting it down when there were other things that needed to be done. It gave me insight into autism and specifically Aspergers Syndrome. The characters were so real. Emma, the mother of Jacob, was a very real person who had to change her whole life to help her son live in his world with minimal conflicts. I am a great admirer of Picoult's and can't begin to understand how she is able to do all of the research which her novels frequently demand. This book kept me on the edge throughout and I couldn't wait to see how it was going to end, but when I finished it I missed not being able to read any more!! I admit to being a fan of Jodi Picoult's but she has written several I wasn't wild about, however, this was really tops them all. I heartily recommend this to book clubs and everyone else.
Betharu More than 1 year ago
I was thoroughly engaged in this book - even thought I had the ending figured out. And then --- are you sure there aren't pages missing from my book? That's it? Very disappointing ending - I guess Jodi had an appointment to get to or something!
MgMG More than 1 year ago
Sometimes this author is hit and miss but this book was phenomenal. I could not put it down and read it in a few days. You fall right in love with the main characters and really feel like you are in the story.
elbell More than 1 year ago
I love Jodi Picoult but though the premise is interesting and the factual information enlightening, the whole story is contrived and hard to follow. The ending is not Jodi's usual shock, but again just frustrating. Do not buy this book and if you are a Picoult fan wait until you can borrow it. Also, I agree with the other commetns about the ebook price - hard to believe that you can get paper and book binding for little more than this price.
thewanderingjew More than 1 year ago
This novel illustrates how being different can cause tremendous hardship and can disrupt ordinary family life; it is a tale of how dysfunction affects each member of the family in a different way; it is a tale about how hard it is to attempt to function in a normal world when everything about you and your world is not the norm. The story is told in the voices of the five main characters. 1-Jacob is the main character. The author gets inside his head and really shows what it is like to have Asperger's, to be locked out of the normal world and to live in a space where all outside stimuli are larger than life. She has captured what it feels like to be an outsider, always looking in, trying to belong but never being accepted because the necessary skills are absent. Jacob's inability to function normally in the world has had devastating effects on the life of his entire family. He cannot read the clues people send out and he often misinterprets behavior and makes inappropriate responses. The family is preoccupied with preventing an outburst from too much sensory stimulation. He is an exceptionally bright senior in high school. His hobby is forensics and he uses a police scanner to learn about crime scenes, offering advice to the trained detectives. 2-Emma, Jacob's mom, is very devoted to him, often leaving her other son to fend for himself. She works from home writing an advice column, which is ironic since she has a hard time dealing with her own problems, let alone those of strangers. Money is always tight because Jacob needs an enormous amount of intervention in order to be mainstreamed so he can function somewhat, in the real world. Her marriage has ended in divorce because Henry cannot cope with Jacob and his effect on their daily and married life. Emma is often preoccupied with Jacob and neglects, of necessity, everyone else. Although Henry supports them financially, he is emotionally and physically absent from the family. 3-Theo is Jacob's brother. Because of Jacob's bizarre abnormal reactions to normal situations, Theo's needs are often ignored. Although Theo is not autistic, he also exhibits some anti-social behavior as a result of his loneliness and feelings of neglect. He wants a normal home life. While Jacob has no friends because his mental problems keep people away from him, Theo has no friends because when his brother appears on the scene, they shun him too. The stain of his brother's Asperger's colors him as well. 4- Jess is Jacob's social skills tutor who is writing a paper on Autism. She has helped him when it comes to interacting in the world in ordinary social situations. He really relates well to her and likes being with her because she makes him feel comfortable. When she is found murdered, Jacob is accused and arrested. His arrest sets the story in motion. 5-Oliver is the lawyer who represents Jacob in the murder trial. He relates well to Jacob and is helpful to Emma. The relationship that develops between them makes the story a bit contrived. It seems convenient and not very plausible. He is 28 and she is the mother of an 18 year old. Once you become drawn into the story, however, the harder it becomes to put the book down. It is upsetting because of the injustice of the way society treats people who march to a different drummer, but it is also very exciting and keeps you guessing as to the ultimate outcome.
bookloverdeb More than 1 year ago
House Rules was a very well-written, informative and entertaining book. While I loved the character of Jacob, my heart went out to Theo. I learned alot about Asperger's Syndrome and felt the author did a great job getting the reader inside the head of Jacob. However, I was disappointed by the ending. I don't always expect a happy ending, but it would have been good to have a few of the loose ends tied up.
Anna_Louise More than 1 year ago
This is a story about Jacob Hunt who has Asperger's syndrome. He just wants to fit in as does his family but suddenly they are cast into the spotlight when Jacob's social skills tutor is found dead. This is a compelling story about how an entire family has to deal with Asperger's syndrome; not just the person who has the syndrome. Very compelling and compassionate; that we shouldn't judge a person from their cover (or book! :) ). Picoult is known for twists in her stories and this is no different. Wonderful story and writing; another story to make us all stop and think!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jacob Hunt is a teenage boy with Asperger's syndrome. But then when a terrible murder happens, the police come to Jacob with questions. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger's - not looking someone in the eye, can look a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel. Suddenly, Jacob and his family, who only want to fit in, feel the spotlight shining directly on them. I's a very moving reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding of others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic novel that I couldn't put down! Get it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book at 13 and thought it was very well written. Living with a special needs younger brother, this gave me some insight into what gos through his mind as things occur througout the day. The book was very moving and at times brought me to tears, wanting wat was best for Jacob, but also seeing justice done. I would HIGHLY reccommend this book to annyone, especialy if you know someone with special needs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good enough to keep me reading but, predictable like many Piccoult books. They're like Lifetime movies...watchable but predictable.
kuhlcat More than 1 year ago
My reading of this book was horrifically interrupted when I neglected to bring it back with me from Maine last weekend. Ok, maybe not horrifically, but I was at a really good part, and I didn't realize I left it until I was 1/2 way back to Massachusetts. I was this close to taking the next exit and going back for it. Fortunately my mother was kind enough to offer to send it through the mail and I could finally find out what happens. My brother has never officially been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, but there's a good chance that he has it. Reading from the point of view of an "Aspie" gave me such insight into their thought process and lack of empathy, I almost feel that if I had known this when we were growing up we may not have fought so often. My brother's not quite as fanatic (we didn't have Blue Days and Yellow Days), but he definitely has some traits. I understood Theo quite often because that's often how I felt about my own relationship. Jodi weaves her characters so well that they jump off the page. She can write as a 40-year-old single mother as well as she can write as a 15-year-old teenager. Her seamless ability to hop between the minds of the different characters adds to the flavor of the story. It's almost like you get more than one story because it's told from all those different viewpoints. Jodi is one of few authors who are able to go from character to character without getting confusing or annoying. One thing I found interestingly odd was that Emma and Oliver and the psychiatrists kept saying how literal Jacob is and that he doesn't understand normal idioms used in everyday languages, yet no one asks him directly whether or not he killed Jess. One question could have saved everyone a lot of trouble! I very much enjoyed how everyone skirted around the question because "I don't want to know" (Oliver, the lawyer), but if they had, the trial would have gone a lot differently. As usual, Jodi has written a wonderful story about an unique family and their struggle just to survive. You can't help but feel sympathy for all of the characters no matter what their situation. In "House Rules" she takes a family that could live next door or even be your own and shows how they stick together to make it through the tough times. One of the "house rules" in the book is to take care of your brother, no matter what, because he's the only one you've got, and that is the underlying theme through it all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
debmor5590 More than 1 year ago
this was a very enjoyable read. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know a lot of people say that Jodi Picoult's books can be repetitive and depressing, but I cannot get enough of her. I love how she chooses current controversial issues as topics. Even though I'm always expecting it, the twist ending always keeps me captivated right up until the end. This book in particular gives the reader insight into the world of a family with an autistic son and the difficulties that they endure every day. I love how in all of Picoult's books, the perspective changes in each chapter, allowing the reader to see the story from each character's point of view. I can't wait for her next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read everything Jodi Picoult has written. I love her style of telling the story from each character's perspective. This story was interesting to read and as always her characters were well developed. The ending was easy to figure out early on in the book. You wonder how the characters could be so obtuse and then when the truth is revealed the book just ends.
coffee_luvr More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy Picoult's books; I have not read them all, but what I have read have been so thought provoking. After reading Picoult's books they stay with me for a long time. The subject matter is always so sobering and relevant. This one did not disappoint. Although I agree with some of the other posts, not all the characters were as well developed in this one as in her other books. I could not put the book down and was surprised by the ending. It left me a little bit unsatisfied, but yet it leaves room for the reader to come to their own conclusion on how it all works out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first Picoult book (and won't be my last), and I enjoyed learning about Asperger's syndrome as the story unfolded. I was intrigued by the writing style and couldn't wait to get back to the book after putting it down. The ending left me empty, however. What occurred after we learned what happened? In fact, I got a bit angry that the story seemed incomplete.