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  • Heather Biddle

Book Review: Defending Jacob


3.5/5 Stars


Defending Jacob is a story about a teenage boy (Jacob) who is accused of brutally murdering a classmate of his who was bullying him. “The interior of a teenager’s mind is an endless war between Stupid and Clever” After tearing his family’s life in two, Jacob goes to trial and is confronted with an overwhelming amount of evidence against him, however, he still claims his innocence.


“…No one is bulletproof, parents least of all. Our kids make us vulnerable.” Throughout the story, Jacob’s father, a seasoned assistant district attorney, along with his over-emotional mother battle whether or not to believe their son, or the large amount of evidence built up against him. “Confirmation bias is the tendency to see things in your environment that confirm your preconceived ideas and not see things that conflict with what you already believe.”


I found the psychology brought up in the book to be very interesting, especially when it brought into question the MAOA Knockout gene, or “warrior gene” where low levels of serotonin are associated with impulsive and aggressive behavior.


“There is an ancient rule: actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea—“the act does not create guilt unless the mind is also guilty.”’ This book had many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. Although it was very well written I think it would have held my interest better if it was 100 pages shorter.


So what do you think? Is Jacob guilty or innocent?

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