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A book which asks moral questions
House Rules - Jodi Picoult
Member Name: julwhite
House Rules - Jodi Picoult
Advantages: Superb character development, very believable
Disadvantages: Slightly disappointing ending
This review is of the hardback book, "House Rules" by Jodi Picoult. The book was published by Hodder and Stoughton of London in April 2010.
The plot of this book revolves around the central character, Jacob Hunt, who is a teenager who also has Asperger's Syndrome. Jacob's mother, Emma, lives alone with Jacob and her son, Theo, the younger brother. Emma's husband left the family when Jacob was much younger, not being able to face the realities of bringing up children. Theo is frequently irritated at the amount of attention that Jacob gets, and also the amount of protection that Jacob receives from Emma.
Problems worsen however when Jacob's personal tutor is found dead, and it looks to the police as though Jacob could be the murderer of his young teacher, Jess. As the police attempt to solve the mystery of who has killed her, they interview Jacob, but find that his behaviour bears all the signs of a guilty party, both his mannerisms and the places he goes. Jacob's mother now has to battle both in fighting for her son, as she has done for so long, but now also wondering whether he really could have commited the murder.
Rich, the police officer who questions Jacob, has to ensure that justice is done, but he remains under pressure from Jess's family and boyfriend who want answers as to what has happened, and want someone to be convicted of the crime.
The style of the book is a good one, the story is told from the eyes of the various characters in the story, and this does make the book flow and make it interesting. It is a long book, at over five hundred pages long, and it does require some concentration, I didn't find it a light and easy read.
The main positive in this book for me was the characters, who came across as believeable and I found it easy to find empathy for those characters, especially Emma, with all the problems which she had to deal with. Everything appeared believeable, so it enables the reader to really get into the book, and I'm sure many will read it in a very short period of time, it is a book where you want to reach the end to see what happens.
The book's plot to me seemed in places maybe not entirely believable, and maybe in places the book seemed to be a little cliched, but I found these just slight problems when looking back across the book. Without giving too much away, I was a little disappointed at the way the book finished, it wasn't as satisfying to the reader as I'd have hoped.
The book retails for 16.99 pounds, but at the time of writing you can buy it new direct from Amazon for just 8.38 pounds. If you're happy with a second hand copy, these can be found a little cheaper on sites such as eBay and Amazon.
In summary, this is a fascinating book which looks at the moral question relating to children with disabilities and how others view them, and treat them. I won't give too much away with regards to the ending, but I found it a little unsatisfying, and that did mar my enjoyment of the book somewhat. However, it was an interesting read, and it's always positive in my view to read books which have a moral perspective which make the reader think about various matters.
Summary: Fascinating title, long, but worth reading