Review: House Rules
I have read all of Jodi Picoult’s books, and look forward to the release of a new one each year. Picoult is a thorough researcher who is not afraid to attack the most controversial topics, from teen pregnancy and suicide to school shootings. She is best known for My Sister’s Keeper, which was adapted into a major motion picture. Picoult’s trademark is her alternating narration between each of the main protagonists, allowing readers to see her stories from multiple points of view, and get into the heads of characters they might not identify with if only given an outsider’s perspective.
Her most recent work, House Rules, examines how a child with Asperger’s Syndrome is perceived within his family and community, and within the justice system. As always, her research was well integrated, keeping the plot moving along instead of feeling like a nonfiction intermission, and her characters were enjoyable. Picoult is a master of the metaphor, bringing the most abstract emotions into concrete, descriptive terms, which flood her books with quotable moments.
The only complaint I ever have about Picoult’s works is that once you have read a few of her books, it doesn’t take long to predict where the story is going. Picoult’s writing is formulaic, and she has certainly found a formula that works for her, but I keep hoping that one of these days she will deviate a bit from the predictable and make her “surprise endings” actually feel like a surprise again.