Backstory Book Review: Defending Jacob by William Landay

I subscribe to a lot of blogs. I’m down from my original 46, but on any given day, I skim at least 20 blog posts about crafts, DIY for the house, recipes and fashion. That’s in addition to my addiction to Pintrest.

I came across a book review on That’s What We Said for Defending Jacob by William Landay. I was just coming to the end of my stack of books and needed something to get me through the daily COTA bus rides since I lost my MP3 player and haven’t had a chance to purchase another one yet. Being curious about the title, I read the Kristan’s review which was enough to give me an idea about the book, but not enough for me to decide if I’d invest the time in reading (i.e. a perfect teaser). I decided to read the last chapter (it’s what I do) and the first two chapters and go from there. I never put it down.

Defending Jacob by William Landay

The premise of the book is that Jacob Barber, son of prosecuting attorney Andy Barber, is accused of murdering a classmate. The book chronicles the family’s experiences and emotions during this horrific time, from being ostracized by the community to the final victory when Jake is found not guilty.

First, I have to say I’m not usually a mystery/thriller/suspense reader. These books tend to leave me a little stressed out, so I had my reservations at first. But once I started reading I couldn’t stop. This book is personal. I could definitely imagine feeling both Andy’s and his wife, Laurie’s, myriad of emotions: wondering if Jake was possible of murder, what they did wrong as parents, wanting to believe, even when the evidence proved otherwise, that Jake was guilty and ultimately trying to figure out how to never let it happen again. There were times when, as a mother of a teenaged son, I had to pause because the emotions were almost too real to handle. Would I be Laurie or Andy if The Kid were accused of murder?

The reason I gave the book four stars is because although I can imagine having blind faith about my child’s innocence,  I can’t imagine being as resolute as Andy in the book. His character is almost to the point of being delusional when it comes to the possibility that Jake may be capable of committing the crime. However, that is what makes the book what it is and causes the struggle between Andy and Laurie.

Despite the cons, I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good suspense/mystery book. From what I hear, it’s a different change from the James Patterson and John Grisham type books.


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