Defending Jacob
by William Landay
Discussion Questions:
1. How would you have handled this situation if you were Andy? Would you make the same choices he made? Where would you differ the most?

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 a wife?

3. Is Andy a good father? Why or why not?

4. Do you believe Jacob is guilty?

5. Is Jacob a product of his upbringing? Do you think he is a violent person because his environment made him violent, or do you think he has had violent inclinations since birth?

6. How do you think people could or should stop adolescent bullying?

7. How much of a factor did Jacob's age play into your sympathies for him or lack thereof? If Jacob were seventeen, would you view him differently? What about if he were nine?

8. Do you think Neal Logiudice acts ethically in this novel? What about Andy?

9. What is the most damning piece of evidence against Jacob? Is there anything that you felt exonerated him?

10. If Jacob hadn't been accused, how do you think his life would have turned out? What kind of a man do you think he would grow up to be?

11. In the opening of the story, Cass says "We believe what we want to believe." The statement is repeated several times throughout the book. Discuss its significance. Is there a truth no one wants to believe?

12. Several of the characters changed as the story progressed. Who do you think changed the most? Which character surprised you the most? Who was the most dangerous character? Did this change for you as the story came to a close?

13. Who do you think was the real victim in this story?

(Discussion Questions by Publisher)


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