Friday, May 7, 2010

House Rules - Chapter 2 (pgs 38-89)

I read chapter 2 late last night and could not stop reading. This is definitely the kind of book that is hard to break away from. I'm going to kind of flip through and skim the chapter again and put down my comments as I do. Yesterday, I read the chapter earlier then commented a few hours later and could remember most of what I wanted to say. This chapter also seemed longer or maybe just more packed with stuff.

So the case at the beginning of this chapter is called Irony 101, which is evident both in the case and in something Emma says that I find very telling. "Isolation. A fixation on one particular subject. An inability to connect socially. Jacob was the one diagnosed, but I might as well have Asperger's, too." Even though Jacob is the one with the disability, his disability is a disables the family to some extent. Emma devotes her life to providing the education/skills Jacob needs to learn, Theo gets less of a parent than he should.

I thought the quip about Emma having show on the Food Network was funny, but true. Diet plays a major part in managing Autism and I like that Jodi is educating people with her novel as well. I think everyone is free to think what they would like, make their own decisions, and I would not argue with anyone who disagreed but I do not think vaccines cause autism. I do think Jodi did a good job laying out the facts the subject and the emotion on why a mother would think that vaccines caused autism in her child. I liked Jacob going to the prom. He asked 83 girls and held the door open for his date then sat in the backseat. =)

I thought Theo seemed a lot more realistic as a teenage boy in this chapter, trying the wine and changing the DVR settings, but a more responsible one, changing the DVR setting back and trying to leave the house as it was. He's probably more responsible because he has Jacob as a brother. But he's probably breaking into the houses because his house doesn't seem like a home to him.

I wondered about the seemingly random introduction of Oliver. But it seems that Oliver will clearly be Jacob's and Emma's lawyer after the murder. Recently out of law school, quirky but intelligent, he seems like someone who will try to relate to Jacob and someone who will be cheap. Their chance meeting at the pizza parlor was unexpected. Will Oliver remember that he ran into Jacob before?

Mark is a jerk. Jess should not be with him. And Jacob can see that. Maybe she shouldn't be with Jacob but I am hoping the he helps her think more of herself and see that she doesn't need someone who thinks so little of her and the thinks she values. I liked the bit about the Christmas cards to the wrong house. I'd totally open them and read them too.

Agony aunt, I'd never heard that phrase before, the origin of modern Dear Abby. I liked how Jodi found an old fashioned title for what Emma does. The incident with Jacob shoving his maths teacher and Emma trying to explain to him why it's wrong in this situation but not in others showed how I'd originally thought Jacob would think, very literally. Emma also states that she wishes Jacob could be empathetic. There is the distinction that helped me understand better that Jacob could know that he was causing certain emotions in people, even if he couldn't read them, but he could not put himself in their shoes and understand why they felt or reacted a certain way. He doesn't understand why people doesn't think and act like him, but he understands that they do, and that he needs to learn to "interpret" them and interact more correctly. Emma ignores finding Theo's stolen video game. Foreshadowing?

Theo - more typical teenage boy with the teaching Jacob how to curse and the hoping to see a naked female.

Jacob - On interpreting slang. Deductions on why Jess hasn't contacted him. Jacob goes to Jess's house. Then foreshadowing on Jacob's impulsive nature. I'm sure we'll see in the next chapter what that means. But we know from Emma's next section that it causes Jacob to meltdown very badly, and Emma, not meaning to, lets Theo's need for a somewhat normal home life down again. Emma can't do everything, who could in this situation.


Shirley said...

We're at about the same place as I also just finished chapter 2.

Some of Jacob's traits are very similar to those of a friend of my youngest son who has autism. This was a5 years ago or so, but at that time he was diagnosed with autism and later considered one with high intelligence. For several years, he did not speak and was assigned two paras to work with him. His mother said that through the power of prayer he suddenly began talking telling that while he was swinging, Jesus came and gently pushed him telling him that he didn't have to be afraid. A while after he began talking and doing much better in school, he no longer had paras assigned to him. Because he had difficulty focusing when things were going on around him, his mother (a special ed teacher) wanted him to be given a shield around his desk so that he wasn't distracted as easily. The school refused as they felt it would make him too different. Even though he was different as he couldn't focus to do schoolwork. Eventually, the family began homeschooling so that he could receive an education. His family was in the same homeschooling group we were in which is how we met. He and my son became friends and our families got together each Friday for special projects as well as other times for special projects.

A women where I work has a daughter with Asperger's and a lot of the things her mother tells about remind me both of Jacob and my son's friend.


Jennifer said...

Thanks for sharing, Shirley. It's interesting to learn more from people who know someone with Autism/AS.

I've finished Chapter 3. I just haven't gotten my post up yet. Busy weekend. Planning on it for tomorrow.

Shirley said...

I finished Chapter 3 last night as well.

Are there others out there who have the book?

Part of my slowness in reading House Rules is that I have a library book I need to finish and get back before it is due. It is The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini. A light read, but an enjoyable one with good characterization (I like books where I care about the characters) and history of both Hawaii and Hawaiian quilts.

alisonwonderland said...

I'm reading the book now ... just started chapter 3 last night. I have a very busy week ahead of me, but I hope to read a bit more and also post some thoughts, at least by Saturday.