Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum developmental disorder in children, is a theme in Jodi Picoult’s newest book, House Rules. In an interview regarding her choice of topics Jodi shared that a cousin of her’s is autistic, and had become violent in a number of situations when his frustrations were beyond his control. The police had been called several times and he could not communicate his problems. Jodi could see how the legal system breaks down for those who are unable to express their innocence.
Picoult is known for her extensive research into her book topics and this was indeed the case with House Rules. She interviewed six teenagers with Aspergers and their parents and also had thirty-five families answer lengthy questionnaires regarding their reactions to situations, their lives, their hopes and frustrations. Jodi put many of their direct experiences in this book. She has created a riveting story around the Asperger theme. What happens when a murder is committed and someone with extreme communication and developmental issuses is accused? How do police, wardens, judges and lawyers deal with someone that refuses to communicate and appears guilty because of his disabilities? Does our legal system handle such individuals fairly. Jodi Picoult gives us much to ponder.