Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Picoult Rules

I confess to Jodi Picoult burnout. It lasted a year. I read a slew of her books, was up on her every hot topic in the news, and then my brain exploded. I did this for awhile with Oprah - dvr'd her show, read her magazine, and then said, "I'm choosing slothdom."

However, I currently have Oprah's April magazine issue featuring poetry sitting open on the kitchen table. And Jodi Picoult's House Rules jumped into my arms at the library. Guess I'm an addict and there's no cure.

Picoult is an excellent writer. Her characters are flawed but likeable. Her storytelling style - various viewpoints - keeps your interest and heightens pace and tension. It's obvious she's done research on her topic - in this case, autism. All in all, House Rules, has Picoult in fine form and I'm hooked once again.

Jacob Hunt, high schooler, is autistic. Theo, the younger teen brother, is resentful and yet, looks out for Jacob. Emma, the mother, constantly runs interference on Jacob's life. As a reader, you will gain a huge appreciation for what a mother of an autistic child goes through each day. It's exhausting. Jessica (college student) is Jacob's social worker and has helped him immensely. Unfortunately, Jessica is found murdered and the key suspect is Jacob. Oliver, a new lawyer, takes on the case and the trials and tribulations of Jacob, who deals in black and white, no shades of gray. Oliver has to convince the judge and jury that Jacob is innocent, but is he?

P. 7 Emma discusses Jacob: If you talk to him, you'll have to be the one to start the conversation. He won't look you in the eye. And if you pause to speak to someone else, for a brief moment, you might turn back to find that Jacob's left the room.

p. 12 Theo's view: I'm no saint. There are times I'll do things to drive Jacob crazy, because it's just so darn easy.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult is a worthy read. She's smart and definitely raises awareness on autism issues through solid fiction. I recommend this, but then step away from the "P" aisle in the library for awhile. You don't want Picoult burnout.

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