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When a teenage boy with Asperger's is arrested for murder, his family face a daunting task to prove his innocence. Jacob Hunt is a teenage boy with Asperger's Syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself to others, and like many children with AS, Jacob has an obsessive focus on one subject - in his case, forensic analysis. He's always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do - and he's usually right. But then one day his tutor is found dead, and the police come to question him. Reluctance to make eye contact, stimulatory tics and twitches, inappropriate gestures - all these can look a lot like guilt - and suddenly, Jacob finds himself accused of murder. House Rules looks at what it means to be different in our society, and at the extremes of love and loyalty members of a family have to call upon to help each other overcome impossible circumstances.
- Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- Publication Date:
- ALLEN & UNWIN
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Another excellent Picoult
House Rules is Jodi Picoults seventeenth novel. The story involves Jacob Hunt, a young man with Aspergers Syndrome and an obsession with forensic analysis, who is charged with and tried for the murder of his tutor, Jess Ogilvy. Five voices tell the tale: Jacobs own; his brother, Theos; his mother, Emmas; his lawyer, Olivers; and the investigating police officer, Richs. As always, Picoults research is meticulous, and she presents controversial issues even-handedly. The tension that builds throughout the novel is occasionally alleviated by the jokes and puns the characters themselves make. While the reader may conclude the truth about Jesss death well before the denouement, this in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the journey towards the revelation. The view from within a person with Aspergers is very well described, and Jacobs frustration with the inability of those around him to recognise the truth is expertly portrayed. As well as educating about autism, Aspergers and aspects of crime scene investigation, Picoult deals with motherhood and brotherhood and what truth really is. The conclusion demonstrates the pitfalls of relying solely on physical evidence, or, for that matter, on appearances and /or behaviour alone. Once again, an excellent read!