Defending Jacob by William Landay
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Read By: Grover Gardner
Length: 12 hours and 24 minutes
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.
Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own–between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.
When I was in my junior year of college I had a bit of a breakdown because I took an extracurricular technology law class for my major, and I loved it. Sure, technology law (digital media copyrights, etc.) isn’t all that exciting, but I was so enamored by law in general. Panic then ensued because my major was technology, not law, and I felt that I didn’t have nearly as much passion about technology as I did for law. Long story short, I decided to not throw away three years of my college career and continued on with technology, but law has remained in the back of my mind as the one that got away. I’m pretty sure this also explains my serious love for Criminal Minds and How to Get Away with Murder.
Moving on… it shouldn’t come as any surprise that criminal trials are fascinating to me. When big trials happen in the news (for example: Amanda Knox!), I follow them closely, watch documentaries, read articles and books about them, etc. So this book was AWESOME. I liked that the reader was part of the trial, as if they were in the audience. We heard a lot of the story and facts though the statements of the attorneys and testimony of the witnesses, with brief, extended flashbacks to provide more detail about certain things. The slow reveal of evidence made the story exciting, but I was curious about how authentic the story was. Having no true experience with criminal trials outside of TV shows and printed media, it sounds pretty realistic, but I don’t really know. I also shouldn’t say that everything sounded realistic, there were definitely moments when I was like “you have GOT to be kidding me!”, but it was fine, I moved on quickly.
There were definitely things that happened that I did not see coming, and I love when that happens! I’m going to say very little because I do not want to ruin anything for future readers of Defending Jacob, so I’ll just say… I’m not sure that I agree or disagree with the verdict. I’ll also say, hold on to your freaking pants, and e-mail me if you’ve read this book and tell me about your reaction to everything. Seriously, do it, I’m dying to talk about it without spoiling things. Great, thanks!
Me trying to not put spoilers into this review.
This book was also very thought provoking. I hope I never have to figure out the answer to these questions, but it made me think about how I might react if I was in a certain situation. What would I do if someone close to me committed a terrible crime? How far would I go to help or defend someone that I love? While I was reading this, I kept thinking that Andy was being blinded by the fact that Jacob was his son, but that’s truly the dilemma, isn’t it? Now that I’m done with the book and writing this review, I can’t honestly say that I wouldn’t have done everything that Andy did if I was in that situation.
As a whole, I found this book thrilling. If you’re into mysteries and find criminal trials fascinating, this book is definitely for you.
If you were in a situation where someone you loved committed a crime, what would you do – turn them in or try to help them stay out of trouble?