Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Defending Jacob

Book: Defending Jacob - William Landay

Members Present: Shea, Denise, Christy, Sharon, Cindi, Lorelei. Welcome Lorelei and Shea!

Venue: Hollywood's

Book Discussion:

This is the first time in a long time, and perhaps ever, that everyone read the book. We even had a long and intelligent discussion about it. Perhaps it's because we are still within the 3 week period during which people stick to their New Year's resolutions. In any case, we get an A+ for January!

Sharon started the discussion with some excellent, thought-probing questions. Some of the questions we discussed are whether or not there is a murder gene, whether the parents could have done anything differently, whether the father was becoming violent or just responding the way any normal father would, implications of the father's narcissism and denial, whether we thought Jacob was innocent before the ending, how much people lost sleep over the ending, how people felt about the mother's behavior, and whether or not people liked the book. Most people did not believe that murder can be inherited. We were mixed on whether the father was beginning to show his predisposition to violence. Some manifestations of the father's own narcissism were in his superficial evaluation of other people's appearance, the fact that he equated his wife's goodness with her attractiveness, that he continued to see himself as the expert teaching his apprentice how to do an examination, even as he was on the witness stand, and his level of denial and deception in hiding his family history, throwing away the weapon, refusing to see what his son was really like. The wife's behaviors of throwing the knife in the lake and trying to kill Jacob and herself were things that no one saw coming. Most people were shocked by the ending and found it troubling, and most people liked the book.

We also discussed how, because some people have grown up on social media, they do stupid things like confess to crimes, or accuse people of murder, or write "fictional" accounts of how they have committed a murder, not realizing that this information can be used against you.

Cindi reflected how we probably have all been in the kind of denial the father was in, albeit to a lesser degree. I added that I know I was in my first marriage, which, fortunately, at least didn't end in murder. In reference to Jacob's predisposition toward violence, I talked about antisocial personality disorder and how there is no cure for it. I also recommended "The Gift of Fear," by Gavin DeBecker, which discussed men who have similar dispositions and how women can protect themselves from them. I also gave some details in Cho's case, the student responsible for the mass shooting at VT, as a way to illustrate how there is often a lot of denial that goes into the events that lead up to a bad outcome, so the parents were not doing anything differently from what most people do.

Sharon and Denise discussed a similarly disturbing book called "The Room" that closely parallels the kidnapping of the girls by the guy in Cleveland. This book has also been turned into a movie, which they both thought would be difficult to do.

The movie for Defending Jacob is in development. No release date has been set.

Noteworthy News:

Gina got the job at RCC, and I proposed to her so that I could reap the benefits of her membership there, since NDor is closing. No wedding plans are in the works since she needs to get divorced first. She wasn't actually present at the meeting, so this is a good illustration of how we will talk about you if you don't show up. Since Gina is aware of this, she texted me after book club to find out what we said about her, because she is smart. Be like Gina. But not Lorelei, because apparently she hates everyone, which you probably already know if you are friends with her on FB.

We actually didn't gossip that much because our discussion of the book was so long, so the rest of you can relax, although I recommend that you show up in the future.

Next Book:

Denise has volunteered to host the next book club and has chosen "The Girl on the Train," by Paula Hawkins, which is of the same genre as "Defending Jacob." She has chosen the new Greek restaurant downtown. I have never been there so I don't know what is called but am excited about using book club to try out new restaurants! We will meet in March so that we can meet our goal of reading 6 books this year.


  1. Sorry I missed - looking forward to the Greek restaurant venue-- good choice! I am all about the food, as you know

  2. The Girl on the Train is also a good book! Enjoy it!

  3. Nice summary...not in love with the pic! ;)