Saturday, April 24, 2010

House Rules (Jodi Picoult)

I am going to begin this with a disclaimer. As anyone who knows me is well-aware, Ms. Picoult is my favorite author, hands down. House Rules is her 18th novel, and while not her best, even my LEAST favorite would get a 4 in my rating scale. It absolutely kills me to give her anything less than a 5 because I love her so much. This is only the 2nd of the 18 that I would do that to (Salem Falls being the other). Jodi...please don't hate me.

Picoult's novels usually center around an issue and a trial. This time, the issue is a young man with Asperger's Syndrome. Jacob lives with his mother, Emma, and younger brother, Theo. Picoult researches her topics impeccably and this is no exception. When Jacob's social skills instructor is found murdered, he becomes the prime suspect. The fact that he is obsessed with forensics and shows up uninvited at crime scenes does not help him.

Picoult integrates her usual style seamlessly with classic murder mystery. The reader does not find out the truth until the last few pages. However, there is much ambiguity and a lot of questions remain unanswered. While this works for plays like Doubt and TV shows like The Sopranos, I hate when this happens in books. For this reason, and ONLY this reason, I have to give it a 4.