Sunday, December 2, 2012

Books: Defending Jacob

I'm trying something new here ... I hope it sticks, so bear with me.

Defending Jacob
William Landay
Hardcover, 421 pages

I picked up this book on the recommendation of my mother. She described it as a good story with a twist, similar to Gone Girl.

I found it to be more of a legal thriller, as it's told from the point of view of Jacob's father - a lawyer. No spoilers here: Jacob is accused of a crime, and he needs defense. In the beginning of the story the narrator believes nothing but his son's innocence, though some evidence that causes doubt appears throughout the course of the book. Lots of the plot focuses on nature vs nurture -- genetics, daycare, parenting style, what parents don't know about their teens. As a new mom, I admit it freaked me out a bit to think about still more things that can go wrong with my child. Some of the plot points I found a bit unbelieveable.

As for the twist: I won't spoil it. I did think I had it figured out about halfway through the book (and it was kind of obvious that there would be some sort of twist), but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. (On the right track, but wrong.)

Does this book pass the Bechdel test: Yes. The narrator's wife and a court-appointed psychologist have a conversation that's not about men. Lots of it is about the son, but that's to be expected. Not a lot of named female characters in the book, but it's a pretty small cast and a male narrator.

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