By Samantha Romero |Staff Writer|
“House Rules” is a dazzling murder mystery by popular author Jodi Picoult.
Jacob Hunt can’t look his mother in the eye. But does that mean Jacob is a killer?
The book opens with Emma Hunt, his mother, entering her home, noticing mail scattered all over, stools in the kitchen overturned, and Jacob laying by the fireplace seemingly dead.
But Jacob pops up immediately and chides his mother for not promptly attempting to solve his fake crime scene.
Jacob has Asperger’s syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder, characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, nonverbal communication, and characterized by restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
Jacob has gone through many interests, which include dinosaurs, dogs, and now forensic analysis, which makes him essentially an expert on the subject due to his Asperger’s.
He owns a police scanner, which he regularly uses to clue him in on crime scenes throughout his town; always showing up, telling the cops what they did wrong, and much to the cops displeasure, he’s usually right.
Then, when the small town Jacob lives in is shaken by the horrible murder of his beloved tutor, Jessica Ogilvy, local law enforcement turns to him.
But since Jacob was the last person to see or hear from her, the local police raised suspicious brows at him.
Jacob’s trademark Asperger’s symptoms don’t help his case for innocence, appearing as signs of guilt to the local police.
For Jacob’s mother, all the attention that is now placed on her family simply serves as a reminder to the intolerance and misunderstanding that follow her family where ever they go.
For Jacob’s brother, Theo, this is just another way that Jacob has turned everything upside down in his life.
I personally enjoyed the book.
When I first saw it, I was intrigued by the cover (a young boy drawing in the sand before a lake) and the synopsis on the back.
To me, it was contradictory in a strange way and decided to read it.
When I actually read the book, I was fairly impressed by the way Picoult told the story.
It was interesting to see how she used so many different perspectives in one book.
Picoult manages to weave an intriguing multi-layered tale through the different perspectives of her characters.
In the book, she writes each character’s perspective in a different font, which I thought was a delightful touch.
Picoult manages to make each character relatable or let the reader understand what the character is going through.
I myself know someone with Asperger’s and can definitely relate to Theo and why he thinks the way he does, which was pretty refreshing as that has never happened before.
The book itself is a relatively easy read, but the way Picoult tells the story keeps the reader engaged as they try and solve the murder while looking through the eyes of a worn but fiercely loving mother, a stubborn officer, a brand new lawyer, a conflicted brother, and a questioned young man.
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