Oh, my! This month's book club selection, Defending Jacob by William Landay, almost made me dizzy! Mysteries aren't really my genre, but that is the beauty of book club- we are all given the opportunity to read something we wouldn't normally pick up at the book store. Since this is a mystery, I will not do you the disservice of spoiling it for you. I will, however, supply you with the Goodreads description of the book, since I can't really say more.
Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.
Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.
As a parent, this subject matter pulls at me. What if one of my children were accused of a crime? Would I believe him or her? What if all the evidence suggested that I shouldn't?
This book also raises interesting questions about what happens to someone accused of a crime, whether or not that person is actually guilty. There are always consequences and, as Andy Barber says at one point, "A jury could only declare my son 'not guilty,' never 'innocent.' The stink would never leave us."
Another interesting discussion is what part of a person's history is he or she permitted to forget? If a person's parents are bad, may he or she forget them and begin again? What about grandparents or more distant ancestors? At what point does the son stop being punished for the sins of the father? So many intriguing topics that I cannot wait to discuss at our book club meeting! I truly wish I could say more here, but I just hate it when someone gives away the plot. Once you read Defending Jacob , let's talk. I can't wait to hear what you think!