#CBR4 Review 10: Defending Jacob by William Landay

16 Mar

Full disclosure: I’m in law school. I read like crazy over winter break, and then stopped cold when I went back to school. Now that I’m on Spring Break, naturally the only book I managed to pick up to read for pleasure was about lawyers. Defending Jacob tells the story of a father, who’s also a district attorney, who is forced to come to terms with the fact that his son may have murdered his classmate.  I wouldn’t classify this as a “legal thriller” necessarily, but a majority of the book focuses on legal strategy and witness testimony.

The book is interesting for the subject manner alone.  Watching a family grappling with whether they raised a murderer has probably been covered better in other novels, but the struggle of Jacob’s parents, and Jacob himself, is compelling. The book also touches on the idea of a “murder gene,” of the questions of nature v. nurture so often debated in social sciences, and the court room. But the most interesting question is about parenting. Most parents would do anything to keep their child out of jail, but what if your child is guilty? What would the cost of letting your child be free be to your sanity?

The real reason to read the book is the fact that you simply don’t know whether Jacob did it until the end. And even in the end, you’re still left with seeds of doubt. The book has a particularly over the top, shocking ending, but it didn’t feel out of tempo with the rest of the novel. And most importantly, it came as a surprise. You spend the book flip flopping back and forth, wondering if Jacob is innocent, wondering which parent has a better read on Jacob, and even in the end, despite all that’s happened, you still wonder a little bit.

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4 Responses to “#CBR4 Review 10: Defending Jacob by William Landay”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #10 – Defending Jacob by William Landay « Cannonball Read IV - March 16, 2012

    […] Read more….  […]

  2. Cannonball Read IV Reviews of Note: Fan Fiction, Gaming and Girls - March 22, 2012

    […] I like a good law thriller. I blame it on Grisham. Defending Jacob by […]

  3. Book Review 2: The Street Lawyer by John Grisham « Book It. - January 11, 2013

    […] the second John Grisham book I’ve ever read, and I can’t remember the last book before Defending Jacob that I read that was a legal/suspense type book.  The set up of The Street Lawyer is fairly […]

  4. HelloKatieO’s #CBR5 Review #2: The Street Lawyer by John Grisham | Cannonball Read V - January 11, 2013

    […] the second John Grisham book I’ve ever read, and I can’t remember the last book before Defending Jacob that I read that was a legal/suspense type book.  The set up of The Street Lawyer is fairly […]

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