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FEBRUARY 17, 2012
Defending Jacob ~ William Landay
comments by CarolK
Defending Jacob releases today...my thanks to the publisher for allowing me to read it ahead of schedule.
It's going to be hard to talk about Defending Jacob without revealing too much and ruining a great story.
Absolutely read it!
The setting, a small town outside of Boston, two fourteen year old boys attending the same school; one is murdered, the other accused. Jacob, son of ADA, Andrew Barber, is arrested for the crime. The balance of the story examines the age old questions, "To what length do you go to protect your child?" "What will you do for love?", "Is believing your child a parent's duty or just a delusion?" Told in alternating scenes of courtroom and Newton, it is at once a legal thriller and as much an unfolding drama of family life.
Defending Jacob is going to be compared to Rosellen Brown's Before and After and to the novels of Jodi Picoult. If you liked these, then I'd say yes, you'll probably like Defending Jacob. If you didn't, please don't dismiss Landay's book. If Picoult had written Defending Jacob, it would have been told in multi-voice and multi-point of view. Defending Jacob is presented to us entirely by Andrew Barber and it is this that makes it so compelling. Landay fleshes out Barber, and lays him bare, raw and naked for our eyes. Because he and he alone tells the story, Barber is a reliable character when he tells his story but we have no idea how much to believe of what he tells us about Jacob's thoughts or more importantly of his wife, Laurie. The dialog in Barber's head rings true and is heartfelt and gut wrenching at times. There was one point in the book where I cried, the description of what the mother was feeling was so bleak, though Jacob was alive, it was like watching his death take place.
Nature or Nurture? A Murder Gene? Can a marriage survive this tragedy? a couple of more questions to ponder. Easily, Defending Jacob is a book to think about, talk about; perfect for book groups. Absolutely read it!
This is not Landay's first book. He has two other award winning novels under his belt, Mission Flats and The Strangler. I absolutely will read these.