House Rules – by Jodi Picoult (2010)

House Rules

The description inside this book will tell you that “House Rules” is about a young man – Jacob Hunt – who has Asperger’s Syndrome, and is charged with killing his tutor, Jess Ogilve. Did he really kill her? While the trial is a big part of the story, it seems to me that the real story is Jacob’s struggle to live day-to-day with Asperger’s, and how it affects every member of the family. The telling of the story rotates between Jacob, his mother Emma, his younger brother Theo, his attorney Oliver, and the police investigator Rich. The timeline jumps back and forth between the present and the years of Jacob as a child.

I came to appreciate each character in the story after reading their point of view. Emma’s love for her son, her patience, her willingness to do whatever it took to give her son a “normal” life, was inspiring. When Theo expressed how overlooked he felt over the years as all the attention was focused on his brother, I felt great sympathy for him. As Oliver and Rich told their parts of the story, I could see how conflicted they were about Jacob. And Jacob – it was just plain amazing to see how he viewed the world and the people around him.

After reading this book, I have a much better understanding of Asperger’s. There is a small amount of content and language that some readers may object to, but overall this is a well-written novel worth reading. It is also available as an audiobook, with different narrators reading the parts of the main characters.


More intolerance toward people who are different…


Take a look at the people in this picture. They are considered “different” and are being killed off in Iraq. How are they different, you ask? They are Mesopotamian, speak an almost extinct language similar to Aramaic, and have a distinct culture of their own. They are Syriac Christians, and are being killed off by ISIS. So, like the Jewish people in the Biblical book of Esther, they have been put in the position of having to defend themselves or be annihilated.

Whether you are of a similar religious persuasion, are of a totally different faith, or are an atheist, I would hope that we could agree that this is not a legitimate reason for killing someone. No matter how different a group of people are from us, we are still all created by God, whose heart must be broken every time He sees things like this happening. No one person can change the world, but each of us can control our own attitude and behavior toward people who are “different”. It’s up to me, it’s up to you. Peace…

How Do We Treat People Who Are Different From Us?

Shortly after I read the book “Be Different”,  there was a news story about two brothers at a school in Kansas City who were being harassed because they were different. The older brother was called a fag, tripped, threatened, had food thrown on him, to the point of being afraid to retrieve his violin from his locker.  His younger brother had Attention Deficit Disorder, anxiety disorder, and Asperger Syndrome. A dispute over a seat in the school cafeteria ended with him being beaten so badly that he required a five-day stay in the hospital.

When we put people in categories, and decide that some categories are superior to other ones, we start thinking it’s okay to mistreat people who are too different from us. God made every one of us, and He made us ALL different. If you have never met or worked with someone who has Asberger’s, for example, at least read about it so that you’ll have a better understanding when you do bump into someone who has that bend.  It really comes down to these words of Jesus:
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12a)

Be Different: Adventures Of A Free-Range Aspergian – by John Elder Robison (2011)

Be Different


The title of this book caught my eye. I’ve never seen the point of being exactly like everyone else. God made us all unique, one-of-a-kind humans, but most people spend their lifetime trying their best to be like everyone around them. They wear what everyone else wears, rush to the movie everyone is seeing, have cars and houses and yards that are amazingly similar, make sure their kids have the same toys, and repeat what others say.

I began reading John Robison’s book with the idea that he would be detached and unemotional, perhaps depressed, a person frustrated with life. Instead, the author was articulate and downright witty in spots, expressing himself beautifully on paper. He has the same emotions and insecurities that we all have. The behavior of a person with Asperger’s Syndrome that is odd when described in other books, seems very understandable when John explains what was going through his head.

What I loved about this book was John’s point of view about Asperger’s. He doesn’t see it as a disability, but rather as a different type of brain wiring, and at times an advantage. He describes how he gradually taught himself to interact with others in a way that he doesn’t push them away. He also went on to start a successful business of his own. Whether you read this book because you have someone in your life with Asperger’s, or you just wanted to know more about it, you will be inspired by this biography.



Touch sensitivity has its good points, but it can also bother me a lot, especially when I think about it. As I write this passage, my clothing is becoming increasingly noticeable. Sharp little fibers are biting into my back. The label on my shirt is scratching my neck. The more I think about it, the more I feel. Soon, I may have to tear all these clothes right off. Hopefully something will divert my attention before that happens, Otherwise, this shirt is headed for a bad end. But probably not. If this time is like most, some distraction will come along and my touch sensitivity will fade into the background.
Things were worse when I was younger. There were days when a piece of clothing would bother me all day, and I’d just sit there distracted and fidgeting. “Why are you squirming around like that?” my teachers would challenge me when they saw me wriggling. “Can’t you sit still?” I never knew how to answer them, so I’d say something like “I don’t know,” and they’d get mad at me. For some reason, I never thought to say what was really bothering me…
Today I meet moms who cut the labels out of their kids’ clothes and trim the seams. The first time I heard that, it sounded great. What a nice thing to do, I thought. But when I thought about things a little more, I began to question the wisdom of that. Why? Because removing the irritants doesn’t do anything to decrease our sensitivity. And if clothes tags bother us today, and we don’t address the nuisance head-on, where will we be in ten years? Naked at work?
Instead of fixing my clothes, I fixed myself. I learned to focus my mind so that my sense of touch no longer controlled me.