Reading a new Jodi Picoult novel is a totally absorbing experience. It is often harrowing, because of the subjects she chooses; it invariably challenges the reader to think outside of the box, and you cannot wait to finish it, yet do not want it to end.
Her latest book, House Rules, (2010 Hodder & Stoughton) is no exception. It tackles the world of Jacob, an 18yr old young man who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome, and also the world views of his parents and brother. Jodi Picoult achieves this by moving the story forward with the use of fast-paced shortish chapters in the voices of the main characters. It becomes so real that the reader enters into the minds and motives of those involved, almost so as to become a part of the unfolding story. It is one where it is impossible to remain a disinterested observer or bystander.
As always, Picoult uses an evolving and revelatory plot as part of her literary device to heighten the tension, that’s what makes for a page-turner. The flyleaf in speaking of Jacob’s young mentor says this: ….When his tutor is found dead, all the hallmark behaviours of Jacob’s syndrome – not looking someone in the eye, odd movements, inappropriate actions – start looking a lot like guilt to the police. And Jacob’s mother must ask herself the hardest question in the world: is her child capable of murder?
Hooked? I was, right from the start. If you like being challenged, thinking laterally and are prepared to be taken to the limit in terms of emotion……… then this is a book for you. In any case, it gets a 9.5 out of 10.00 for me. If you read it, you can ask why I docked it a half point! Till then it is a secret on the grounds it could spoil the plot.