Sunday, April 25, 2010

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Personal Rating: 3/5 Stars
Mini-Group Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Pub. Date: March 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover, 532pp

Received free copy from for the House Rules book club event.

Jacob, an 18 yr old boy obsessed with crime scenes, has Asperberger's syndrome. The affect that this diagnosis has on his family, from the time of his birth, is deep rooted and causes fractures in their family unit. Theo, Jacob's younger brother, feels alienated from school friends and invisible at home. Emma, who's husband left shortly after the diagnosis, is having a hard time making ends meet and keeping the family afloat. She writes an advice column from home, that gives her the ability to be with Jacob at all times. Oliver is a young lawyer just making his way in the world with a big case thrust his way that will either provide him opportunity for success or huge failure as a lawyer. Rich is a police detective who is tough to call emotionally but ultimately seems to want to do whatever it takes get his cases solved.

The book is written from four different perspectives: Theo, Jacob, Emma, Oliver and Rich. This give the reader a more reliable source of the truth as it occurs, and how it affects everyone involved in the story. All of these characters come together on a case that with change everyone's lives involved forever.

I was chosen to lead a House Rules Book Club event from In return for a copy of the book, and another by Picoult and Cookies provided by Lucy's Cookies, I hosted a House Rules Book Club with a few of the girls from the WoWO book club (a mini-WoWO book club event) on Saturday night.

This event was hosted by many book clubs across the globe and they provided resources to the book clubs for the event. I was grateful for the free stuff but I expected the event to be more interactive at the time of the event. I logged in at 7pm with my group and we attempted to get other groups to talk but it didn't really happen that way. So we went off on our own and had a really great time.

Some of the topics discussed were (Contains slight spoils) :
  • Favorite Character: Oliver
  • Emma was a great mom and did the best she could given the circumstances
  • Theo's character seemed to be too good to be doing the things he did all on his own without peer pressure involved. We didn't think that he would aware of why he was breaking an entering like he was, and that he wouldn't have done it on his own accord (based on his character as we knew him)
  • We felt that Rich was only thrown in to throw you off from Oliver and Emma's relationship and that he could have been left out of being a narrator without any detriment to the story.
  • We thought Henry was an Ass.
The book brought out opinions and had us sharing stories that made us laugh so hard that we cried. Any book that can do that makes for a great book club book and I'd recommend it to book clubs for a good discussion book. The Reading Guide provided by was a bit wordy but we were able to break it down for the discussion and include our own topics.

My personal thoughts about the story was that it was well written, which is expected from Jodi Picoult. She is a master in writing about controversial topics, and she is a favorite author of mine. I however felt this one was very similar in concept to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, which is one of my favorite books. The story lines were different, the points of view changed for a more well-rounded story but the concept for me was too close.

If you read House Rules and liked it, you will love Mark Haddon's book. If you haven't read it and like the topic on House Rules, I'd like to suggest it to you as a must read.

The girls and I will definitely be doing more mini-Bookclub meet ups in between the larger more formal WoWO Book Club Meetings.

This book fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:
  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge
  • Romance Reading Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge
  • RYOB Challenge
  • Thriller and Suspense Challenge


  1. Me too! I've read many of her books, I love how she tackles controversial subjects.

  2. After reading Picoult's books they stay with me for a long time. The subject matter is always so sobering and relevant. Her latest book did not disappoint me. Although I agree with some of the other posts, not all the characters were as well developed in this one as in her other books.