I read Rules, a 200 page novel by Cynthia Lord, a former teacher, behavior specialist, and bookseller. Rules is her first novel. I chose this book because I noticed it at the school library and, after reading the back, chose to read it. Rules is about Catherine, a 12 year old girl whose brother, David, has autism. Being the older sister, Catherine is forced to babysit David and attend his therapy help session, where she meets Jason. Jason is unable to talk, but communicates using a word book. Catherine is taken aback when Jason asks her to make words for his book, but to add colored pictures, a new addition to his otherwise black and white book. As Catherine attends the weekly sessions, she continues to add cards for Jason while David is at his therapy. When Catherine is invited to Jason’s birthday, but is forced to bring David, Catherine is afraid that David will just embarrass her again, but when they arrive at the party, everything turns out ok.
Catherine developed throughout the book by becoming more grateful and less embarrassed for David being her brother, and that to appreciate and be grateful is really the highest form of maturity. I noticed how the author, having a son with autism, wrote from a realistic point of view by making the characters talk and react to various situations in a certain way. I was satisfied at the end of the book when Catherine finally learns to be grateful and unembarrassed for David’s behaviour.
In this scene, Catherine is at home and her mom needs her to babysit David.
“ “Just for an hour,” Mom said, “until we have to leave for OT. I’ve put on a Thomas the Tank Engine video so he shouldn’t be any trouble.”
I pull forward two blank cards and scrawl:
Whatever.” (pg 77)
This passage is a great example of how the author tied two parts of the story together by making Catherine write out her feelings dealing with David and then make into a card for Jason to use when he wants to express himself. I would rate this book an 8 out of 10.