I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.
Mr. Landay's book is outrageously good. There are lots of ex-lawyers out there who think they can write; they should read "Defending Jacob" so they can see what a great book is. The plot twists and turns in ways that entertain and inform you. The main characters are extremely well drawn. The villain LoGuidice is horrible: nasty, vicious, ambitious, duplicitous. The Barber family is extremely complicated: Andy, Jacob and Laurie are all believable humans. The courtroom scenes are a little drawn out, which is often the case with courtroom scenes. You can forgive this, as these guys spent their careers in courtrooms. The device of interspersing Andy's grand jury testimony, something which clearly occurs at the end of the book, but with which Landay teases you throughout, is one of a kind. I have never seen it used before, and if anyone else ever copies it, Mr. Landay should appreciate the fact that imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Grover Gardner is a perfect reader for this book. His voice is friendly and full of humor, even when the text is serious. His reading of the David Rosenfelt lawyer/dog series is so delightful that you want to read every book in it. Gardner doesn't have as many voices as some of the other more technically proficient narrators, but that hasn't stopped audiobook publishers from recognizing his talent. He is warm, knowledgeable and naturally engaging. You will never guess how the book ends, no matter how clever you are. Landay's insights into the world of eighth graders and their parents is true in every detail. I cannot recommend this book more highly; this is the debut of a marvelous talent.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I hesitated for months to listen to this because I had preconceived notions about the storyline. I thought it would be a formulaic family drama, syrupy or maudlin - the kiss of death for any book in my estimation. My mistake. It is nothing like that.
This is a brilliantly written, suspenseful novel made all the more impressive by the fact that it's Landay's first book. He makes none of the mistakes with clumsy dialogue that can sometimes plague new writers. He can jump around on the timeline and never lose you. Really, it's masterfully executed and incredibly suspenseful.
All along the way I was sure I'd figured it out. I thought about it when I wasn't listening and came up with all kinds of "Aha!" moments. I was wrong every time. I just love it when a book can do that to me. Not one of my plotted scenarios was ever right.
Grover Gardner has a way of narrating that makes you think every single thing he says is the gospel. There's a unique timbre to his voice that's easy to listen to, captivating and very convincing. Though he's not the most dramatic of narrators, he's really perfect for a book like this when the character just needs to tell his story.
Without a doubt, this book is firmly in the company of other 1st rate legal dramas by Grisham and Turrow. Excellent.
This was quite an enjoyable listen. I thought this was going to be another book about a kid getting bullied to the breaking point but was surprised to find it more than that. I thought it predictable but surprised that it wasn't.
It is sad as a parent to find out things about your children that you would just as soon not know. Not just about the child who is bullied but the child who was murdered. Neither parents knew about these sides of their children.
Grover Gardener read this so well. Loved it! Hated it! But such a good read.
Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.
. . . I can't breathe. This one is still keeping me up at nights. I did not see it coming. This is a very well written book with lots of twists and turns, but the ending is shocking. I hoped as I drew near the end of the story that something would happen to cinch it for me as not being predictable. Well, it was not predictable. I just can't decide if that is the very thing I like or dislike about this book. It has been a week since I finished it, and I think I am only now grasping the meaning of the story. It is more fascinating as time goes on. Would I recommend it? Yes, but not to everyone. Only if you can handle the unkindest cuts of all. This is not a happy story with a fairytale ending. But it is intriguing. I think the air is still knocked out of me.
My only complaint about the book was that it was hard to find a truly lovable character. I could sympathize with them, but I just couldn't love them. But I do get that the author wanted them that way for a reason. Yeh, I get it. There are no warm fuzzies here.
Sure, I'd love to hear your story....
As a parent, it is so easy to see how this wonderful novel could happen in real life - - a rare feat for a novel. Careful reading too many reviews - - I got a terrible spoiler as I was deciding about whether to purchase this one, so just let me urge you to buy it. It's a real honest assessment of a family at the nadir of their lives.
Addicted to Audible!
I am a fan of courtroom drama and of family relationships. This book combines both and totally engaged me from the beginning. The author kept throwing in interesting twists and turns and I was very suprised by the ending. If you enjoy the early work of Grisham, you will enjoy this!
"This is a 3 to 4 star legal thriller. The narrator was great, I enjoyed the inflections in his voice"
I enjoyed the book, however I think one time was enough. I bought it on a $5.95 special which made it a great value. Although it is worth credit.
I thought it was touching when Jacob's grandfather involved himself despite the animosity. Grover Gardner did a really good job at adding a lot of personality to the characters.
Of course, I'm sucker for happily ever after.
Defending Jacob is an entertaining book somewhat of a drama/ thriller and lastly a mystery. The mystery was very predictable however there was an unexpected twist at the end.
The author is a good storyteller. I'm an adolescent therapist, and the portrayal of the therapist and the parents' responses to the therapist made no sense. The therapist described a psychological profile that was laughable, and used diagnoses that aren't even used with children. I hope Mr. Landay speaks with a child/adolescent clinician next time.
So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.
The story is well-written and held my attention throughout. It is a book that kept my mind racing as I listened, and is not a story you'll quickly forget. It is definitely worth spending a credit on.
Grover Gardner was a phenomenal reader for this book. I would give him 6 stars if I could.
I have no desire to give anything about this excellent novel away to interested listeners so suffice to say that it's read perfectly by Grover Gardner and that author William Landay has written an excellent tale that explores the responsibilities of parenting, the consequences of accusation, the impact a family member's choices can have on the rest of the family and much, much more. The characters are well developed, the legal scenes fascinating and the book keeps the listener guessing until the end, which is memorable, to say the least.