Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis: [from back cover]
Fifteen-year-old Lee is making it in the hothouse circuit of showjumping. Just kicked out of school for possessing marijuana and seeking to escape from sexual abuse, her search for comfort leads her into heart of a claustrophobic and brutal world.
Hooked into a passionate lesbian affair where pleasure and pain blur beyond distinction, and seduced by dulling narcotics, Lee is knowing and vulnerable - she cannot remember ever being innocent. And in a bruising arena where only kindness threatens to break her, dealing with pain is easy...
The content of the book may repel others, but not me. Lee is introduced as a troubled fifteen-year-old who has just been kicked out of boarding school for posessing marijuana. She can't (or better yet, won't) stay home because her father sexually abuses her which doesn't seem to bother her mother very much. So instead Lee heads off to Florida and returns to the world of competitive horse showing. Thus begins Lee's downward spiral into a brutal world filled with drugs, alcohol and violent sexual encounters. This destructive path seems to be all Lee will ever know as she struggles to find a balance between comfort and numbness.
Although the book is powerfully honest and brutal I had problems more with the writing and character development. I suppose it just takes time to get used to how Heather Lewis wrote her novels. I admire the way she laid Lee's emotions and entire life bare for the reader to witness. It's just at the end of the book I didn't really feel like I knew Lee at all. And the entire world of show horses is completely unknown to me. I understand Lewis knew about it well and she certainly was able to show that through her words. I just wasn't able to picture any of the scenes in my head that contained the horses, which was a important thing to Lee.
I did like the book though, it was so different and raw that I did have a problem putting it down. I will be reading more of Heather Lewis and I hope to become more compatible with her writing. I'd recommened House Rules to anyone that wants to read something from the dark side of humanity, the side everyone knows exists but never likes to think about. I promise it will stay with you long after you finish it.