House Rules Alyssa Buren
By Jodi Picoult Comp. 3
A Division of Simon & Schuster Inc. 2010
“I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot no deputy.”
These song lyrics written by Bob Marley are some of the most important words Jacob can here. Jacob Hunt is a young teenage boy living with Asperger's Syndrome. Jacob needs to hear these words to keep him calm. This song is very important to his life and gets him through so many tough situations. A song that seems so irrelevant to many to many other people like you and me can be the difference between a meltdown and no meltdown for Jacob who is living with AS. Many times he is already having the meltdown and these simple song lyrics can bring him through that meltdown and make everything okay for him again.
Jacob is very intelligent. Kids with AS are typically very interested in a certain subject and his is the love for forensic sciences. Jacob is not good with social interaction or good at expressing himself because of the Asperger’s Syndrome just like many other kids with it. Jacobs’s mom got him a police scanner for Christmas and he likes to go to crime scenes. Jacob has a younger brother named Theo. Theo struggles with the fact that Jacob has AS. He has a very hard time dealing with the fact that Jacob will always be the first priority. Emma is their mom. She is a single mother raising her two boys, because their father left when both the boys were young. Emma tries to always stay strong and hold her family together through every struggle.
Jacob has moments where he just snaps. Small things like the light and changes in his schedule cause him to breakdown. When changes have to occur in his schedule, they must be planned out several days in advance. He goes to the grocery store to see a sample lady every Saturday. When they got there this particular Saturday, the sample lady was not there because she needed surgery. Because Jacob was not aware ahead of time, Jacob had a breakdown. Bob Marley’s “I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot no deputy,” song is one thing that did give him comfort.
Jacob encountered Rich, the county detective, when Jacob showed up at the dead person scene. The second time Jacob encountered Rich was when he came to Jacob’s house to question Jacob about Jess Ogilvy being missing, Jacob’s special skills tutor. Jess Ogilvy ended up being murdered and the police found her in the woods behind her house, which Jacob knew of and called in. Jacob gets charged for the murder of Jess. Jacob goes into jail and can’t adjust to the difference; he tries hurting himself a lot.
What would it be like to have a child charged with murder? This is something that this books has continuously brought to my mind. Emma has a very tough job as a mother. She is a single mom raising two boys, one with a severe form of autism. She has a full time job making sure her sons are well taken care care and making sure everything is accommodated for Jacob. When Jacob gets put into jail, she is very worried, because of his autism and the jail doesn’t seem to care that he needs to have special attention. Having your life completely changed that quickly would be a drastic deal for a person with AS. Being Emma in this situation would also be very hard. She has been trying to keep Jacob safe and accommodated for his whole existence, then all of a sudden for the three days he is in jail, she has to worry and just sit back and watch her child hurt himself. That would be a very tough situation to deal with as a mother.
How Jacob is charged with murder, I believe is very unfair. Rich, the detective, uses the fact that Jacob has Asperger’s Syndrome against Jacob to charge him with murder. Jacob can not make eye connect with people. He also can not help that he fidgets when people are questioning him. These are symptoms of the AS and there isn’t anything that Jacob can do to control it. Even so, the detective takes these as signs that Jacob is guilty and should be charged with the murder. Jacob is very honest and answers the detective’s questions, another symptom, but I do not believe just because he is honest that he committed the murder of the only friend he has.
I am excited to continue reading this book. Jodi Picoult is a great author and really shows real life situations in her books. I am nervous to see what happens to Jacob when the trial for his murder charge comes around. I am really hoping they find him not guilty, because I don’t truly believe they are being fair to him or that he committed the murder.