Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Jodi Picoult Project - Book #1: House Rules

Well. That was quick. I picked up House Rules on Sunday evening and, 539 pages and two and a half days later, I'm done! Not too shabby.

That just goes to show how good this book was. Or maybe I was just excited to be starting my Jodi Picoult Project. In any event, I loved this book. I couldn't put it down! And this project was doing exactly what I was hoping it would do- getting me to turn my darn television OFF and pick up a book INSTEAD.

Please see below for my Jodi Picoult Book Review Template. I'm going to try to use this self-created "template" as I review each Jodi Picoult book, so that something, for once, can be standardized on this blog. Please bear in mind that the template will likely continue to evolve, since, well, we're all continuing to evolve, right? Deep, I know.

House Rules

539 pages

The book centers around an eighteen-year-old boy named Jacob, who has Asperger's Syndrome. Jacob is fascinated by crime scene investigations and has historically put together his own faux crime scenes, in hopes that others can try to solve the crime- his inspiration for this practice is his religious viewing of Crimebusters every afternoon at 4:30 PM. Jacob has a social skills tutor named Jess who is found dead in her apartment fairly early on in the book. At first, her boyfriend (who, by the way, is a complete and total D-Bag) is the most plausible suspect. However, Jacob quickly steals THAT spotlight when his mother realizes that Jess' body was found wrapped in a handmade quilt... a handmade quilt that belongs to Jacob. And so, you have the makings of a fine little story. How did Jess die? Did Jacob kill her? If so, why? If not, well, why was his quilt wrapped around her?

My favorite part of the book:
How each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character. There are five main characters in the story (Jacob, his brother Theo, his mom Emma, his lawyer Oliver and the police officer Rich), so I feel like I could have easily gotten lost in the story, since there is so much DETAIL. However, having each chapter told from a different perspective really made me grow that much more attached to each character. More than once did I tear up when reading about how Emma (the mom) deals with her life. Makes me never want to complain about my life again.

My least favorite part of the book:
I don't think I appreciate the legal nature of things as much as other people do, so I found the last parts of the book (ie: the courtroom scenes) more boring than pivotal. But that's just me, because obviously other people drink this stuff UP.

What I learned:
GOD, I learned so much about Asperger's Syndrome. I'd heard about it plenty, but couldn't really pinpoint how it differed from autism. I have to admit, I was already interested in the topic, but I'm pleased to say that I learned a LOT more from the story that was woven here.

How it ranks on my personal Jodi Picoult Project list...

1. Nineteen Minutes
2. House Rules
3. The Pact
4. My Sister's Keeper
5. Salem Falls

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