Several people recommended Defending Jacob to me, even though it’s not my usual type of reading. I normally read books full of happiness and light. This does not qualify. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t wonderful. It was gripping, thought provoking, and once I got hooked I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. And I continued to think about it afterwards, wondering what I would have done in the same situation.
The story revolves around the Barber family. Parents Andy and Laura, and son Jacob have a very stable, most would say normal, upper-middle class life in New England. That is, until Jacob is accused of murdering a classmate. The emotional journey is intense, explained from the perspective of the father and his struggle between defending his son and finding the truth. Is it possible to do both?
Note: There are implications of cruelty to animals in this book. I only mention it because no one mentioned it to me and I wish someone had. Nothing is described, just implied. I understand the author’s decision to include it in the book because this type of behavior often precedes violence against humans. But I would have preferred the psychological connection be acknowledged without implying actual events.
The following discussion questions will not give away anything in the book, but comments left by readers might!
- Would you tend to defend your child more in Andy’s style? Or Laurie’s?
- Do you believe in the concept of inherited evil?
- Were you blown away by the ending or did you see it coming?
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