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Book Review: House Rules by Picoult

by Kimberly on May 4, 2011 · 6 comments

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!


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Caylyn Krizan May 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm

House Rules was the first Jody Picoult book I’ve read, and I loved it as well. I felt like she did a great job portraying an individual who is on the autism spectrum. What I loved about it, is that an average person who knows nothing about ASD would be able to read that book and become very educated about individuals with ASD, as well as the emotions that family members experience. The book itself I felt was incredibly engaging, yet predictable. It’s the only Picoult book I’ve read entirely through, though, because I was so captivated by it. I lost interest in Sing You Home halfway through.

Vanessa Ceballos May 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I have never been disappointed in any of Jodi Picolt’s novels. She does in-depth research into all the subjects she writes about and weaves great information into a absolutely riveting story.

Kimberly May 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Thank you @Vanesse and @Caylyn for sharing your thoughts! I’m happy to find fellow Picoult-lovers 🙂 @Caylyn I think you bring up a great point about the “layperson” having a better understanding of ASD and what’s it’s like to live with (or live with someone with) ASD. ~Kimberly

Michelle January 29, 2012 at 12:34 am

I’m not much of a reader but I picked up Sing You Home because of all the buzz in the music therapy community. I’m loving it and have been reading consistently – a goal of mine – to read a book all the way through! I think House Rules is going to be my next book! Thanks for the reviews!

Jess Ogilvy June 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

I thought this book was amazing! First Picoult book I’ve read, definitely reading more…

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