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March 04, 2010

Picoult-a-Thon: Day One (1-78)


(Rachel's post is here. I will quote and/or refer to some bits of it, but you should go read the whole thing.)

Well! I am fairly impressed so far! I have not wanted to throw the book across the room yet! As Rachel said, it's a pretty quick read, and the fact that it changes narrators every few pages helps this - there's a fair amount of white space. The font switches aren't driving me crazy quite as much as I thought they would.

Some specific things:

1. As Rachel says, the sections from the point of view of Jacob, the character with Asperger's, just don't ring true. Everyone goes on about how literal he is, but he doesn't think literally. Hey, Rachel, how does this compare to Curious Incident? (Should I bring that on vacation?)
2. Again, as Rachel says, infodumpy and advocate-ish. And not necessarily in a good way, although I suppose I can't fault Picoult for saying what the character believes. But the bit about vaccinations drove me nuts, because Emma said "The jury is still out on this" but then admitted that no studies have shown any connection. And ALSO that section had nothing to do with what came before or after, so it was thrown in there JUST to be issuey.
3. On the other hand, for someone who is trying to be such an advocate, it seems like Emma (and Jacob) goes around casually "diagnosing" people with Asperger's a lot. YOU ARE NOT A PROFESSIONAL. STOP IT. Especially WHILE COMPLAINING about parents using it to justify having bratty kids.
4. I also thought the crime scene was fairly obvious, although I do read/watch a lot of mysteries. Regardless of the hypothermia part, though, I thought it was really dumb that Rich (the detective) was all "Sexual assault seems like a given" when the victim's underwear was on and there were NO SIGNS of sexual assault. This just makes Rich look stupid, when the rest of his section doesn't really support that. I get that this was a vehicle for showing how clever Jacob is, but I feel like Picoult threw it in there without considering how it would make other characters look.
5. Theo (the younger brother) is creepier than I expected, and Rachel is totally right about Picoult BEATING US OVER THE HEAD with "Oh! He's doing this creepy stuff because he wants a normal family!"
6. I have mixed feelings about Jess. I don't know. The whole "Jacob didn't realize she was being paid" thing seemed somewhat unlikely, and it would be nice if her boyfriend had ANY redeeming problems. They're basically just caricatures so far.
And now, predictions! Rachel says:
I'm still leaning toward Jacob as the guilty party, and it will have something to do with Emma's family's House Rule Number 5, which states, "Take care of your brother; he's the only one you've got." (hence the title, see?)
I think at this point I will predict that it is NEITHER brother, but each brother thinks it's the other and is trying to protect him. Maybe it is the evil boyfriend. Also, I am expecting the father to reappear soon, and/or Emma and Rich to get together. I am also expecting the advice column to end up holding CLUES somehow.

Posted by Kat at March 4, 2010 09:00 AM

I now have an unsettling feeling that I've been referring to Theo as the older brother. Have I? I'll have to go check.

I've read the next section and have notes together for a post but I'm going to wait to write it until the ink is (pixels are?) a little dry on the last one first. :)

I hadn't thought about the father reappearing. And yeah, Emma and Rich were the couple I picked out from the beginning. I can't think of specific examples right now but that seems kind of Picoultish -- that the detective/lawyer and the mother of the suspect get together. *Nineteen Minutes*, maybe?

Posted by: Rachel at March 4, 2010 12:40 PM

re: Mark Haddon: I think he *nailed* the Asperger temperament in his prose. Nailed it. In fact, I was going to mention that as a comparison in my post but I forgot. You really should read that book, but I don't recommend it for vacation because it only takes a couple of hours to read.

Posted by: Rachel at March 4, 2010 01:33 PM
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