What lengths would you go to protect your family? How far is too far?
While driving to Santa Cruz for a weekend getaway, I finished listening to ‘Defending Jacob’ by William Landay on my Audible app. This book really got me thinking.
Here is my summary of this fiction novel:
A small town is rocked by the news of a murder of a 14-year-old boy. Andy Barber is the Assistant District Attorney assigned to investigate the case. Things take a sharp turn soon into this novel when the lead murder suspect is Jacob Barber, Andy’s son. Andy must now convince his wife, his neighbors, the jury and himself of Jacob’s innocence.
Intense, right? I love anything crime related, so after seeing the description, I knew I wanted to pick this book up. In this novel, Landay takes you on a journey to answer two questions: “Who is the murderer?” and “Is Andy blinded by his love for his son?”
Landay does a great job of capturing the reader’s attention by keeping the plot moving in a non-linear fashion. The narration jumps between 3rd and 1st person. In one moment, you are a juror sitting in a courtroom listening to Andy’s testimony. In the next moment, you are looking down, watching the recurrences play out as Andy is recalling them. Just when you are about to learn a crucial detail in the case, you are brought back to the courtroom and Andy is asked the next question to testify on. Although a little vexing, it does a great job of keeping the reader’s interest.
Without giving anything away, let me just say this: there are a lot of lose ends at the novel’s conclusion. This novels leaves much open for interpretation, so if you are looking for a definitive answer to “Who done it?” then prepare for disappointment. This would make a great book club book, as it prompts a multitude of questions. Like in the book “Gone Girl”, there is not a clear protagonist and antagonist. It is up to each reader to decided who is good and who is bad, and what is right and wrong. Also like “Gone Girl”, I think “Defending Jacob” would make a great movie!
Is love blinding? Over and over again the author toyed with this theme. It got me thinking.
I am sure that I am not alone in having been in relationships where I was treated unfairly. If it is a romantic relationship, why does one stick it out until the bitter end? If it is a friendship, why does one refuse to acknowledge that he or she is being taken advantage of? If it is a family member, why does one let him or herself be disrespected or judged by the ones who claim to love you the most? Why do we turn a blind eye for love?
I am not sure. Maybe it is because we want to see the best in the people we love. Maybe it is because we view the people we love as family. That mafioso mentality plastered all over the TV: big, burley Italian men saying things like, “He is family. We protect our family.” Despite the things they have done to us or others, we stick by the people we love. Friends that get into drugs, siblings that commit crimes, romantic partners that are unfaithful. What it is about loving someone that can make you blind to the truth?
Maybe it is the psychology degree talking, but I believe in supporting people. I believe in being there when people need you most. I believe in second chances. On the flipside, the survivalist in me says, “Bye Felicia. You crazy and I don’t need that in my life.”
So I will leave you with that, the loose ends of this post to mimmic the loose ends of “Defending Jacob”. Give this book a read, and ask yourself, “Is blood thicker than water?”
What did you learn by sticking it out until the bitter end in a relationship? Was supporting that person the right decision or a hopeless cause? Let me know below.
2 thoughts on “Is Blood Thicker than Water?”
Hi Brown Eyes! I read Defending Jacob a couple years ago and I actually really appreciated the end, how Jacob’s Mom dealt with the situation (no spoiler alert!). Thanks for the review and provocative questions.
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I agree! Talk about the lengths someone will go to “protect” their family. Thanks for reading and commenting!