Sunday, March 27, 2011

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Picoult continues to provide something to think and think and think about. How does she do that??

This was our March book club book and I am just finishing it right now...I know a little slow, but it was well worth it!

This is the story of Jacob, his mother Emma and his younger brother Theo. It is also the story of how a family copes with an all-consuming, life altering, diagnosis. Jacob has Asperger's. He is brilliant and unable to connect, obsessed and childlike all at the precise moment. His meltdowns span of shirts with buttons and eating the wrong colored food on a specific day and have torn apart his family. Mom is ultra-focused on Jacob and Theo breaks into 'normal' family houses.

Into this mix come Jess Oglivy. She is Jacob's social skills tutor and the object of Jacob's love. She is also found dead in a culvert behind the house she was staying in wrapped in Jacob's quilt.

I do have to say I had this figured out way before the end - I think Picoult wanted you do to that though. The purpose of the book was not figuring out what happened to Jess - instead it was figuring out what happens to a family who suspects one of their own. The story is about the trial of Jacob for Jess's murder.

How does a parent who has forfeited her life handle the idea her son may be a murderer? What about the father who deserted them? How does the legal system deal with an man with Asperger's on the stand - one who needs sensory breaks and can't stand loose hair around a woman's shoulder or the sound and sight of a crumpled paper?

In typical Picoult fashion the reader is drawn into a world too painful to really understand, one where surprising moments of pure joy and peace appear and the bad guys are not always the bad guys.

I loved it!!! Read it!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sarah's Quilt and Sarah's Star Garden by Nancy Turner

Due to some health issues I've been spending a lot of time reading this past week - and having a couple of good books certainly helped pass the time quickly. My book club read These is My Words by Nancy Turner in the past year. These are the next two installments to Sarah Prine's life in the Arizona territories of the early 190s.

These are good books - full of excitement, pioneer vim and vigor and the impossibilities life. They are also rather predictable. But, that predictability is not ridiculous - more like what you expect when you turn on an old western.

Sarah and her family are stuck on the edge of the Mexican/Arizona desert - trying to make a living on a drought stricken ranch with too many mouths to feed and not enough rain. In the midst of this drought her Mexican neighbor gets a bit too big for his britches and tries everything to rid the countryside of her family.

The books are filled with family lives and goings on, with the day to day hardships of living and trying not to die. You really care about them. You want to see them succeed, you want to see them live.

So, I liked them and am glad I read them - but they aren't as good as the first book fact they get a bit long on Sarah's descriptions and the longing for something she can't quite find...and of course it's right in front of her nose. I also really hate the titles...all three titles are not particularly enticing.