What I’m Reading/Watching: Defending Jacob

Do you ever read a book and it sticks with you?  Back in 2012 I read a book Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landy.

It was a really good book.  It’s a courtroom drama and I tend to like them…yep, there’s a twist at the end too.

Andy Barber and his wife Laurie are well respected people in their community.  Andy a District Attorney and Laurie a school teacher are blindsided when their son Jacob is charged with killing a school classmate.  As the trial goes on the book outlines the change in relationships with community members and within the family unit.

The story is told by Andy and through Andy’s eyes.  He wants to believe the best about it his son so sometimes the reader is forced to step back from Andy’s perspective and judge for themselves on how to interpret evidence.  I listened to this as an audiobook and very much enjoyed this.  Some reviewers on Amazon suggest that the book is a little slow as some of the courtroom testimony tells about things the reader already learns from earlier reading.  For me, that was not true and was part of character building….do we believe the testimony of the cop who was Andy’s best friend?  Do we believe the testimony of Jacob’s best friend?  Who is telling the truth…who is distorting it and is anyone lying?  How will these changes in testimony affect the ultimate verdict?  Will the truth ever be told?

The story brings out what they call a “murder gene”.  Are people capable of passing down a “murder gene” to their children through DNA? Certainly we can pass on high blood pressure, cholesterol issues and the like, why not a “murder gene”?  If this “murder gene” can be passed on, then how do you as a parent feel if you are the one who passed it down?  All of this is brought to the reader’s attention for consideration.

Anyway….I loved the book.  The book has over 9000 reviews on Amazon and it’s given 4.3 stars.

Well…I was extra excited when 8 years after reading the book Apple TV decided to do a series on the book.  Well I don’t have Apple TV and had no idea how it works.  But…I was interested enough in seeing this book in television series form to figure it out.

It turns out I can get Apple TV as a subscription channel with my Roku.  You can download the app HERE.  The good news is that I could watch the first two episodes free.  I thought that was awesome.  If I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to pay to subscribe.  But you can guess what happened.  I loved it.  I subscribed.  Apple TV is $4.99 a month.  I cancelled my Acorn TV for a month and will be using Apple TV for the month…then I’ll likely go back to Brit Box for a month.  I really like rotating the subscriptions around.  Then I’m only paying $4.99 for added viewing options.

Here’s a bit more about the series…
The lead actress is Michelle Dockery…(Mary from Downton Abbey).  She does a fabulous job as does the rest of the cast.

Here’s the review of the series by IMBD, “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.”

Here’s the trailer:

The book is good in it’s own right…Find it HERE on Amazon.
The series is good in it’s own right.

Both are slightly different.  Both were really good.  If you watch or read, drop a note and let me know what you think…I hope you love both as much as I did!


4 thoughts on “What I’m Reading/Watching: Defending Jacob”

  1. Gloria Webber

    I read this book back when it first came out. I couldn’t put it down, it’s one of those books that you always remember. You end up putting yourself in the parents shoes. recommend reading to any parent.

  2. Oh my gosh! Does this hit close to home. I just completed a memory quilt for a mother whose son was murdered by a classmate at an end of year school party. It was witnessed by 16 other children at the party, they were 14-15 years old. They all had to testify at the trial. So, so sad. Mother of the boy who shot the other boy was in her bedroom drinking.

  3. Hi Jo- My sister recommended the series Defending Jacob and my husband and I both thought it was riveting when we watched it. I kept wondering how some of what transpired in the show could have been conveyed effectively in the book but maybe those were some of the “differences” you mentioned.

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