Friday, March 5, 2010

(34) House Rules by Jodi Picoult

I am already a little bit behind my daily goal on the Natrona County Library challenge. I went and got sick. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat. It went downhill from there. So, I have wasted valuable reading time sleeping, dern it. Hopefully I can make it up this weekend.

I was ready to be done with Jodi Picoult after last years Handle With Care. I was so angry at her ending & taking the easy way out, I was furious. My anger waned a little as the year went on and when I saw a favorable review in a magazine, I thought I would give her one more shot.

House Rules has the same formula as just about every other Jodi Picoult book, which in itself is pretty frustrating. The martyred mother trying to take care of her "special needs" child. Another child or children feel neglected and *something* happens which leads to a legal battle. Some say if you have read one Picoult novel you have read them all. They aren't too far from the truth, but House Rules was a little bit better than her last few books in my opinion.

The martyred mother in this story is Emma. Emma is the mother of two teen boys. Jacob and Theo. Her husband, Henry, leaves her when at three years old, Jacob is diagnosed with Aspberger's Syndrome. She spends the next fifteen years struggling to mainstream Jacob and provide him with all of the necessary care to help him live a normal life. One of those ways is through his Social Skills Counselor, Jess Ogilsvy. When Jess is found dead, suspicions automatically fall towards Jacob. The eighteen year old who does not respond well to social cues and is honest to a fault has some pretty damning evidence against him. Emma is once again thrown in the middle of a fight for her son's life.

Jodi Picoult is a gifted writer, I will give her that. She has a way with words that captivates her readers. She knows how to choose topics that are timely and current hot topics in this country. However, just once I would like to see Ms Picoult step outside of her comfort zone. Do away with her "formula" and write a book without the "martyred mommy." Don't get me wrong, I did like House Rules it was obviously well researched and it gave me an insight into an illness I knew very little about, but it was very similar to several other of her books. Only the names and issues were changed. Oh, and unlike recent novels, the ending, it was an ending I could live with.


Shon said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book. She is one of my favorite authors. Like you, I thought Handle with Care was similar to My Sister's Keeper. Unfortunately I guessed the ending pretty early in the book so I wasn't surprised. Have you read Nineteen Minutes? That is my favorite of hers.

Charlotte's Web of Books said...

I have read all of her books. I think Plain Truth was my favorite.

Diane said...

Great review; I've read all of her books so I am looking forward to this one as well; thanks so much

Charlotte's Web of Books said...

You are welcome, Diane.

Sara Lucinda Bell said...

Thanks for the review! I will be meeting her this month and buying the book from her then. =]

I am actually a pretty big fan of Picoult, but I always respect and appreciate other peoples' reviews! I do agree though that most of her books do feature the mommy issue. I read The Tenth Circle a few years ago so I might be thinking wrong here, but I believe that one focused more on Dad than Mom... still featured a martyred parent though. Also, Vanishing Acts does feature a mother but she is dealing more with something that happened between herself and her father when she was a kid than with anything mom-related. If you are interested in giving her another chance, I might suggest one of those two. =]

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