Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Rules has at it’s heart a very difficult subject – a sibling with a disability in this case autism. This, however, should not deter you from picking up this beautifully written, sensitive and humorous story.

Catherine, our narrator, is twelve and all she wants is a normal life. This seems impossible at school, at the shops, in social situations and even in her own family with a brother like David who has autism. Catherine has spent years trying to teach David the rules of life… ‘chew with your mouth closed’, ‘sometimes people laugh when they like you. But sometimes they laugh to hurt you’ and finally the most important rule of all ‘No toys in the fish tank.’

David loves the story of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel and even though he is now too old for this story, he recites the text word for word quoting snatches of dialogue between frog and toad. The familiar words of this much loved story are a comfort to David in this world of confusion.

Life for Catherine consists of a new and potential friend next door Kristi, the school bully Ryan who seems to be friends already with Kristi and her blossoming friendship with Jason, who is a boy locked into a wheelchair, unable to speak. It is Jason who brings a layer of real humanity and humility to this story. Catherine also has two pet guinea pigs!

While this is not a book for everyone, I really enjoyed it and would think it would appeal to students in Senior Primary classes. Other books with a similar theme in our school library include I Nigel Dorking, A corner of the Universe by Ann Martin, Wish by Felice Arena and Looking for X by Deborah Ellis.

Finally this is another one of those books from Scholastic with extras at the back including an interview with the author.

1 comment:

jennyhogan said...

I am reading "Born on a Blue Day"
at the moment which is a memoir by Daniel Tammet about livingwith Aspergers. it is interesting to read about this form of autism from the perspective of someone who is experiencing it. I will have to try and get hold of "Rules"