I’m on a bit of a Picoult kick right now. Years ago, I read My Sister’s Keeper and loved it. Last month I read my second Picoult book, Sing You Home, and loved it. And now I have just finished reading my third Picoult novel, House Rules, and wouldn’t you know?
I loved it.
The basic premise behind House Rules is to explore what might happen when you cross law enforcement with autism spectrum disorder. When you have a person who doesn’t communicate and respond as a neuro-typical would, yet s/he has to navigate the legal system. A system which, as Picoult writes, “works really well, if you communicate a certain way.”
I loved this book as a therapist, too, because it provides the reader with a glimpse inside the mind of some with Aspergers (which, for those who don’t know, falls with the Autism Spectrum Disorder). And it doesn’t just explore the “Asperger’s mind,” but also the affected family and the dynamics that are created with siblings, parents, and others.
With her novel Sing You Home, I felt Picoult very accurately portrayed the work and experiences of a music therapist. She did her homework and brought our work to life. So I trust her process and trust she did the same with House Rules.
It’s not always easy to read Picoult’s novels. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat, maybe with a lump in your belly because of the connection you feel with the characters and what they’re going through. Picoult tackles “heavy” subject matters, but continues to do so with respect, clarity, and by capturing the complexity by sharing the perspective of different characters.
In short? I recommend Picoult’s 2010 novel House Rules for anyone who works with a person who’s “on the spectrum.” And if you have read it? Please leave a comment below and let us all know what YOU thought!