Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book Review

Summary (from the back of the book)
Jacob Hunt is 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 this 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 his town is rocked by a terrible murder and, for a change, the police come to Jacob with questions. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger's - not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, flat affect - can look a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel. Suddenly, Jacob and his family, who only want to fit in, feel the spotlight shining directly on them. For his mother, Emma, it's a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it's another indication of why nothing is normal because of Jacob. And over this small family the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?

Commentary (from me)
Well...just to start things off, I have a great affinity for Jodi Picoult. She's writes eloquently, her characters so relatable, her court cases full of controversy and two sides. And, her endings always leave me crying...except now.
My mom's a special education teacher and I have a cousin who's autistic, so when I began to read this book, I hoped to find a connection with the people I'd grown up with and the characters in this book. And although, Picoult does an amazing job creating the characters: their emotions are so raw especially Theo's and Emma's - and I love, love, love Oliver, I was disappointed.
First of all, her writing was everywhere. She began the story with Rich, the detective, as an important figure, who finds Emma beautiful (possible relationship, perhaps?), but then, Rich is gone for half the book...and randomly appears at the end. No way did I feel any empathy for him. Plus, Mark - Jess's boyfriend - is only mentioned in the first 100 pages of the book and then disappears forever. Wouldn't you think he would have a more profound impact on the book since 1) his girlfriend died and 2) he assaulted her?
Second, the same repetitive stories and information were repeated throughout the book. Ms. Picoult, how many times are you going to blatantly state that Jacob hit a girl because she told him to tell his teacher to "f" himself or that Theo always felt unwanted by the family or that Fridays are "blue days"? Seriously, the same, cliche line kept repeating and it felt boring.
Third, the family's reactions are so ridiculous. Emma finds out that her son's been breaking into houses and stealing things out of remorse, but she does nothing...only further goes to "tell on the police". Oh...and what kind of mother would rat out her own, disabled son?
Oh...and lastly, why I really didn't like this book? There was absolute no twist to the book.

So, thanks Ms. Picoult for this 300+ page book of absolute disappointment. 


1 comment:

  1. Great review, I've always wanted to get into Jodi Picoult's writing, I guess I'll be staying away from this one! What do you suggest I start with?
    - C x