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Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

Defending Jacob - William Landay Rating: 3.25* of fiveThe Book Description: Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.My Review: Courtroom legal thriller. Nothing new there.Redeemed from two-star basement by two things: The ending, which I am surprised to say I didn't see coming. It was a gut-punch.And also two quotes, things I closed the book and nodded sagely after reading, things that were So Well Said I had to take a pause for absorption:It was as if there was a place called After, and if I could just push my family across to that shore, then everything would be all right. There would be time for all these "soft" problems in the land of After.Yes, yes, anyone who has ever lived through A Tragedy knows this feeling intimately, knows how this sentence encapsulates the aching need to be normal and better and fixed...that never comes....And this:At some point as adults we we cease to be our parents' children and we become our children's parents instead.Anyone who has read some of my more dyspeptic posts on Facebook will realize how little I think of the adolescent exceptionalism that pervades our adult culture. You don't have a *right* to own a gun, unless you're in a "well-regulated militia," you have a stupid-ass paranoid fear that results from imaging They are out to get you. It's a symptom of a brand of stupid arrogant vanity, a sense of self as Uniquely Valuable, that is ridiculous and borderline mentally ill.No one is so damned important that They are Out To Get You. And that sentence, that piece of Landay's wisdom, explains why it should be okay to say "Oh just STFU and grow up!" to more people more often.Anyway. Up from a rocklike two all the way to three and a quarter stars. An enjoyable read redeemed by surprise and wisdom...helluva job, Landay!