I recently finished narrating a book by Jodi Picoult titled “House Rules.” On the surface it seemed like just another murder mystery novel with a family focus (thus, HOUSE rules). But that was far from the case.
In this book, the protagonist – an 18-year old boy named Jason – has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. And while the book was a murder mystery, it was rich in information about Asperger’s and in the kind of internal and external conflict (and joy) that can come from both being and living with a person like Jason. What an interesting read this book was! Ms. Picoult explores how Asperger’s affects the parents, the sibling, strangers, and even delved into how a person with Asperger’s might think about the condition themselves. Fascinating stuff. At times difficult. At times poignant. But always interesting from cover to cover.
Here is the book synopsis posted on Ms. Picoult’s website:
HOUSE RULES is about Jacob Hunt, a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special 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. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger’s – not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, inappropriate affect – can look a heck of a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel — and suddenly, Jacob finds himself accused of murder. HOUSE RULES looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way – but lousy for those who don’t.