“I’ve had to get twenty-four stitches on my face, thanks to my brother. Ten of them left a scar cutting through my left eyebrow, after the time that Jacob knocked over my high chair when I was eight months old. The other fourteen stitches were on my chin, Christmas 2003, when I got so excited about some stupid gift that I crumpled up the wrapping paper, and Jacob went ballistic at the sound. The reason I’m telling you this has nothing to do with my brother, though. It’s because my mother will tell you Jacob’s not violent, but I am living proof that she’s kidding herself.”
I needed a book set in New Hampshire for my 52 Books Around the USA Challenge, and I immediately thought of the author Jodi Picoult. I have yet to read Picoult novel I didn’t like, and House Rules is no exception.
Pilcoult’s topic du jour in House Rules is Asperger’s Syndrome. The main character, Jacob, suffers from Asperger’s, and is high functioning. His symptoms are revealed as “quirks” – he absolutely must have structure, can’t abide crumpled paper or the color orange. Jacob can’t look people in the eye, and he always tells the truth. When Jacob’s tutor is found dead – the victim of blunt force head trauma – the evidence all points to Jacob. But is he capable of murder?
There weren’t any big surprises in this book. Picoult sets it up so that the reader knows what actually happened (although she delivers this in small bites throughout). However, the other characters don’t know what actually happened, and you, like Jacob, are eager for them to discover the truth. It makes for a fun read that will have you clutching your book long after you should have gone to bed, and make you contemplate getting up early just so you can squeeze a few chapters in before work. Another winner for Jodi Picoult!
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2010