Defending Jacob

Defending Jacob

by William Landay

Gail Reid (03/04/13): If the idea of a page-turning, compelling mystery and a literate read appeals to you, then Defending Jacob should be your next choice. The story of district attorney Andy Barber and his 14-year old son Jacob - who may or may not be guilty of a heinous crime - has enough plot twists to keep you thinking long past the end of the book.

How his devoted parents Andy and Laurie relate to their only child is wonderfully captured by the author. The fact that Andy and Laurie see Jacob differently adds to the realistic portrayal of a family, especially one with a child in serious trouble.

While many authors cannot write a plausible ending or they wrap up the book too quickly or leave loose ends, this ending packs a surprise punch. No peaking ahead!
Rating: *****

Debbie Weiss (01/05/13): I, too, really enjoyed this book. No parent can imagine their child capable of murder and Andy Barber was no exception, constantly defending his only child. Did Jacob do it? The reader goes back and forth with their opinion on this question throughout the book. The "murder gene" mentioned in a previous review was brought up during the trial and coincidentally, I read about this in the newspaper just a few weeks ago. I actually did not like the ending of the book, but am giving it a rating of 4 none-the-less.
Rating: ****

Judy Stanton(12/17/12): Wow. I had a hard time putting this book down. As parents, we all want to believe the very best of our children, we take their flaws personally, we may even refuse to see in them what is so obvious to others. We can never be objective.

This compelling mystery confronts this issue when the personality disorder in the child runs deep; when the father is a district attorney who job is prosecuting criminals, yet, his own father was a murderer; and the mother is caught blind-sighted, trying to make some sense of it all. In an age when teenagers can hide in their rooms while exploring all sorts of bizarre behaviors on the internet and when affluent parents have garnered a reputation for overprotecting their children, this story rings too true. I enjoyed Landay's twists and turns, just when you thought you had it figured out, it tosses you another curve. Well done. 4++
Rating: ****

Dale Israel (03/14/12): Defending Jacob by William Landay tells the story of fourteen year old Jacob Barber who is accused of murdering a classmate. Jacob's father Andy is the town's District Attorney as well as the narrator of the book. Andy is fiercely protective of his son and refuses to consider the possibility that his only child did indeed commit the murder. Initially the question I kept asking myself was this: Is Jacob a deeply disturbed teen or are his father's rationalizations for his peculiarities accurate? While parts of this book were fairly predictable the ending was a complete surprise. The notion of a 'murder gene' certainly added interest to this book. Overall, an enjoyable read.
Rating: ****

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