Defending Jacob: Discussion Questions

Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber is blindsided when his teenage son, Jacob, is charged with murder. Jacob insists he is innocent, and Andy believes him. But as the trial intensifies, damning facts and shocking revelations surface.

1. How would you have handled this situation if you were Andy? Would you make the same choices he made?

2. Before and during the trial, how would you have handled the situation if you were Laurie? Do you feel she made strong choices as a mother and wife?

3. Is Andy a good father?

4. Is Jacob a product of his upbringing? Did his environment make him violent or is it the "murder gene" that made him lack sensitivity?

5. Bullying is a huge topic these days. Do you feel the book written to address the topic as an issue in schools or do you think it was just an element that helped form Jacob's story? How large of a role do you think bullying played in Jacob's behavior?

6. How much of a factor did Jacob's age play into your sympathies (or lack thereof) for him? Would it have made a difference if he was 17 or 9?

7. Do you think Neal Logiudice and Andy Barber act ethically during the trial?

8. If you were on the jury during the trial, what piece of evidence would you have found the most damaging against Jacob?

9. How would you have voted, is Jacob guilty or not guilty?

10. If Jacob hadn't been accused, how do you think his life would have turned out?

11. As Bostonians, how much did you think about the fact that the plot was set in the nearby town Newton? Did it weigh in on any of your decisions or judgements about the characters and their actions?

- Suzanne