Tuesday, 29 May 2012
House Rules - Jodi Picoult
I haven't read a Picoult in years and in all honesty I didn't expect to be reading another after hating the first one. A friend though, suggested this when I mentioned I was going to be spending a couple of weeks looking at mental health. Otherwise I wouldn't have given the author another chance.
There were a few aspects of the book that I liked. Mainly the fact that it covered so many voices. If I remember correctly the one book I had read by Picoult was the same. However, in this one it gave rise to interesting perspectives. The reader got to see how families cope when a child has Aspergers and how siblings see it as their parents attention mainly revolves round the child with the syndrome. It also showed how those with no previous understanding of it might see it. It showed the impatience those who don't understand might feel and how odd the behaviour of those with Aspergers might seen. More importantly the book gave Jacob a voice. We saw how the world looked to him and how he viewed his own disorder (which he didn't view as a disability or disorder).
For that reason I did enjoy it for the most part. It was easy to read and the characters were easy to like. Although to be honest Jacob is the only one in there who I would say is memorable. The mystery aspect of the book was a little predictable although I probably could have lived with that. The book itself badly needed editing. It was so repetitive that I was tempted to give up about half way. There was no need for half of the examples or asides in there. It felt like it was trying to push home an idea that it had succeeded in doing about 100 pages before. It definitely could have used some tightening and tidying making it a better read in half the pages.
It hasn't changed my mind about reading more of the authors books. There would have to be a reason similar to me picking up this one to try another.
Labels: Book Review, Fiction
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I think she is a bit hit and miss with her books, but then I don't love the sames ones that most people call their favourites. I've heard she has got quite formulaic over the years but I find her easy to read.ReplyDelete
It was an easy read mind you and had it been shorter I might have felt differently and wanted to read others. It just seems like too much time put in for very little return. I can see why people think she is formulaic. This one had a lot of similarities to the one I read years ago.Delete
I liked the first novel I read by Picoult very much but read another one and didn't like it much at all. I haven't been able to pick up another because I am afraid that if I hated a third book then I might reconsider the first one I read and realize that it isn't that great after all.ReplyDelete
I hate it when that happens. I would be like you, almost afraid to try another as it might spoil the first.Delete
My first Jodi was My Sister's Keeper back in 2004 and I loved it. The I recall a 3 for 2 at Waterstones (or Tesco) and I bought 3 more of hers. After I had read them I told myself I wasn't going to read another one because they all basically follow the same recipe. Then someone tricked me into reading another one, swearing it was different, but it wasn't.ReplyDelete
But then again, I think you pretty much always get that with authors who release a new book each year. They're easy enough reads, well researched, and they fill a certain niche.
Think you are right. If you have a book published every year they probably are going to turn out a little samey. Plus, I do have to give her credit. She did seem to know the subject well.Delete
My first & only Picoult was also My Sister's Keeper, and I hated the ending so much - it actually made me angry, which as I'm typing seems like an over-reaction to a book - but anyway, I swore I'd never read another one of her books.ReplyDelete
That was my reaction too but with The Pact. I felt she went with the easy option in the end. I was so angry too. I heard later that she wanted to go with the alternative ending but she was talked out of it because her agent or publisher thought her readership wouldn't like it. Lost even more respect after that.Delete
I had the same experience as Lisa May. Seriously, I read the whole book hoping and feeling for the characters and then there is such an ending. It was only annoying.ReplyDelete
I have worked with a kid with Aspergers and it was really really strange, so I would be tempted to pick this up in order to understand that better, but not after your review.
Sorry, Mrs Picoult, you and I just don't get along!
It was good in that it did give me a better understanding of Aspergers. I don't think that it told anything new that you can get out of text books though. Other than it humanised it. There is a book that I loved that is about autism rather than aspergers that you might like (if you haven't read it already). It's called The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon. It's from the point of a boy with autism who is investigating the death of a neighbourhood dog. The boy actually exhibits many of the behaviourisms that Jacob did in House Rules.Delete