This issue’s book review is of the novel House Rules by Jodi Picoult. Picoult is an author I enjoy reading because she does a good job of writing about different situations and points of view I may be unfamiliar with. She helps me see things from different perspectives and have sympathy for, or at least better understand, people and issues I that I may not have without reading her books. I enjoy her writing style, she keeps me interested in the story and curious to see how it ends. House Rules is not one of my favorite books by her but I wanted to write a review of it because it deals with someone on the autism spectrum dealing with the criminal justice system.
The book is about a young man, Jacob, who has Asperger’s syndrome and is accused of, and arrested for, murder. Jacob has recently turned 18, he lives with his mother and younger brother and is interested in forensic analysis. Parts of the book are written from his point of view. It was helpful, and interesting, to read about what it might be like to experience life with Asperger’s syndrome. Because he is arrested for murder the book shows how bad our criminal justice system is at dealing with people on the autism spectrum. From law enforcement to people who work in the jail, they do not understand him or the situation. This book was published in 2010 and, unfortunately, I don’t think there has been any progress or improvements. The story is also told from the mother and the brothers point of view. I like being able to read about an issue I have no experience with and being able to see it from different perspectives.
I did enjoy reading this book but it also made me sad and angry. I know there are so many people that are dealing with the autism spectrum and criminal justice system. There needs to be more information and understanding in these situations.