Thursday, June 30, 2011

My take on a piece of Autistic Fiction

Right before Christmas last year, I bought a book called "House Rules" by Jodi Picoult.  One of my coworkers had read it and told me that it was about autism, so I was interested in reading it.  This particular author specializes in complex dramas involving legal issues.  The book is about a young man with Aspergers who is accused of murder.  I started reading this book to see how this author portrayed the first person perspective of the boy with autism.  After a few days I put down the book and have not been back to it since.

This book affected me a lot more than I had anticipated it would.  Having read several books by the same author, I had some idea of what to expect from her plot arrangements, so I thought I knew what I was getting myself into.  I was wrong.  Watching this fictional boy with Aspergers get into these situations where he is not understood for what he really is and instead is thought of as a criminal was very depressing to me.  If someone of legal stature is that unwilling to understand that the autism mind works differently, then something along the lines of this book plot could really happen.  I found the thought depressing.  At some point my dad asked me why I was feeling down, and I told him because of this book.  He told me if it makes me feel bad, then stop reading it.  So I did.

To make one thing clear, I am not telling people to avoid this book.  I am saying that the book affected me deeply on a personal level at the time when I first started reading it.  I have enjoyed several other books by this same author.  This writer has a very compelling writing style and is a good storyteller.  I have confidence that I will reach a point in the future when I can read this book and not be affected by it, like I was before.


  1. Ryan, my philosophy has always been to not push through a book you dislike - there are just too many more out there! But it makes me wonder if you could write about a character with Aspergers. We don't see a lot of character portrayals on the subject in literature. Even a short story might be worth a shot.

  2. That's a good suggestion, thanks Val!