Saturday, March 06, 2010

House Rules: A Novel

As a longtime fan of Jodi's I was not disappointed in her latest venture into Asperger's Disease. If you have ever interacted, or tried to interact, with a person with Asperger's Disease(most easily described as a kissing cousin to Autism but the individuals are highly functional and may possess a genius IQ without a clue how to socially function in a casual conversation) you know Ms. Picoult has done incredible research, both scientific and from a personal viewpoint.

That said, it comes as no surprise to a Jodi fan as it is the hallmark of her previous works. She uses numerous points of view to unfold the story of Jacob, his single mother, Emma, and too-often forgotten younger son, Theo. Emma's daily problems in dealing with Jacob can be echoed by any parent of a "special needs" child. How can a mother NOT devote the necessary hours and resources to the child who so greatly needs them? It requires all the strength and energy Emma can possibly dig up, all the while digging her heels to "mainstream" Jacob. But after giving 150% of herself to Jacob what is left for Theo? Or for Emma herself? Jodi never disappoints us while exploring this family's dynamics. She deftly gives the reader a nuanced peek while never forgetting these characters are people, warts and all.

Jodi thoroughly details all the traditional Autism therapies with tried-and-true advice about "alternative" treatments such as restrictive diet enhanced with vitamins and supplements. The current medical controversy over childhood vaccines and their causal factor in children developing autistic tendencies is addressed from the parent's viewpoint.

I always eagerly await Jodi's books as she writes adult fiction that is fascinating and thought provoking. This is one of those reads. Why not a "5 Star Review"? I am tiring of her use of court room trials to interject drama. Even then, she remains one of my favorite authors. If you are interested in reading more about Asperger's Disease, I highly recommend Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's. If you are new to Jodi, try "My Sister's Keeper" or "Plain Truth" two of my favorites.

Enjoy the read!

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