It's been a cool wet grey dreary sad day. Our nation is mourning the senseless murder of two servicemen this week. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo gunned down yesterday while standing guard, unarmed, at our national memorial to our war dead. A young man, a reservist, who wished to serve his country, a single father, a guy with a winning smile. Gone. For what? So senseless. Journalist Rex Murphy sums it up so well- I couldn't express it any better... I'm sure all Canadians are sharing the same feelings today, and praying for peace.
Perhaps it's a good day to curl up with a good book. I've fallen a bit behind on book reviews so that's what I'm sharing with you today - another good read. Daughter Laura is a Jodi Picoult fan, and I "borrowed" this #1 NY Times Bestseller from her bookshelf: House Rules. It's the story of an eighteen year old with Asperger's. I don't know a lot about autism but after reading several novels on the subject lately I thought this one would be a good addition to my reading list. Emma Hunt, a single mother, is raising two boys, eighteen year old Jacob who has Asperger's, a disorder on the autism spectrum, and fifteen year old Theo. Jacob's Asperger's seems to be the focus of Emma's life as she struggles daily to help her son cope and learn to communicate with those around him. Jacob is obsessed with routine and order in his life, and has great difficulty reading "social cues" and relating to others. He is hypersensitive to things like human touch and bright light, he takes comments very literally, he finds direct eye contact very difficult and lacks empathy. But he is brilliant in many ways, and has a keen interest in forensic analysis.
When their small town is shocked by a terrible murder, the police come to Jacob. He has appeared at crime scenes before, giving suggestions to the investigators... and now his strange behaviors look a lot like guilt... Emma struggles with the misunderstanding that always plagues her son, and Theo resents the time and attention his mother spends on Jacob; nothing about their family is "normal" and Theo blames that all on his older brother.
Could Jacob have committed this murder? Picoult does a masterful job of keeping the reader wondering until the very end... You don't want to believe it, but then.. well.. maybe.. could he have? The book is just over 500 pages, but they turn quickly... I found the book very hard to put down. (USA Today calls Picoult "Master of the Page-Turner.") Each chapter is "told" from the different characters' points of view, which I found a successful technique as the story unfolded. There is suspense, humour, a touch of romance, and you'll run the gamut of emotions as you turn the pages. Picoult has done an exceptional job of building the story and portraying the emotional struggles this family is going through as they prepare and go to trial.
"Books keep you company when you're alone. They're your friends through a rainy day." ~ A.A. Milne