Books for Breakfast #54

Book Reviews

This time I read:
Defending Jacob by William Landay
Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine
I got this book from my mom after she had read it. It’s about a boy who is accused of murdering a classmate and it is told from the father’s point of view. I liked and disliked this way of telling the story, mainly because of the bias. It made it interesting to read since you only hear the father’s side of the story, who is, of course, convinced his child can do no wrong. Although, this is also what makes it  aggravating, since you don’t get any other perspective but his. I’m so used to reading murder mysteries that have a bunch of different perspectives to them throughout the telling of the story.
Still, it’s a great novel. Since you are reading from the father’s rose-tinted view of his son, you as the reader struggle with who to believe. Do you listen to your narrator? Who is the father of this accused murderer, or do you listen to the lawyer who is trying to get him charged? It’s hard to pick your side, even with mounting evidence. Throughout the book you struggle with these ideas of guilt and who the real killer is in this book. 
The other great thing about this book is the fact that it’s told through a court case. So the chapters open with the transcribed lines from a court case, and then the father goes back and talks about the murder that happened, who he thinks did it, and about his son/family. It’s a gripping tale, to say the least. Not to mention your emotions get all scrambled trying to figure out what is really going on.
I can’t spoil anything here but…THE ENDING! OH MY SWEET HONEY COVERED GREEK YOGURT! I didn’t see it coming at ALL. There was NOTHING that could have prepared me for it. My mom happened to be visiting when I finished it and I just threw the book on the floor and gaped at her. She replied with “I know.” 
I’ve already read one book by Schine and it was a decent read: The Three Weissmen of Westport. Down to earth writing style with family drama. Fin & Lady follows the same style and topic. The book is about a young boy whose parents both die, leaving him in the care of his 18 year old half sister. The book takes place in New York City in the 50s/60s, which of course, I can’t really relate to, but it was certainly an interesting and dynamic time period. My mom might actually find the book enjoyable, perhaps I should lend it to her…
Anyways. The sister, Lady, is a total free spirit. She does what she wants, when she wants it, and she ignores the rules society has set up for her. She keeps multiple suitors, all of which she strings along, she doesn’t have a solid job since she has so much money, and she hosts lavish parties, just because. It ends up being that Fin, her younger brother, ends up being the guardian more than she does. 
Another interesting thing about this book is the narrator. It takes a long while to figure out who is telling this story and you don’t actually find out until the very end. I really enjoyed that bit! I didn’t actually see the ending coming either, as in, I didn’t expect the narrator to be who he/she was. (no spoilers!!) 
It’s a story about love, betrayal, what makes a family, and growing up. It was a nice lazy read.
Next on my list is: The Resurrectionist

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By Jess

A bookworm since the tender age of whenever I stopped chewing on books and started actually reading them. A cat-mom, graphic designer, and introvert originally from Pittsburgh, but now resides in the humid, hot, state of Texas. Cheers!

  • I loved Defending Jacob! I didn't see the ending coming, either. The only thing that made me curious was that it was in the form of a grand jury trial. I couldn't figure out what they were doing in grand jury until the end!

  • Defending Jacob is going on my list. That sounds so intriguing because like you said it's such a biased opinion

  • Kay

    Definitely adding Defending Jacob to my list. Sounds excellent.

  • You've intrigued me! fin & Lady sounds very interesting!!
    ~Sara

  • Taylor Yates

    These both sound really interesting! I also died when you said "OH MY SWEET HONEY COVERED GREEK YOGURT!" I'm going to have to use that one!

  • Exactly! First I thought it was a re-trial or something, but then the ending came and I was so shocked!

  • It is a great read! It'd be like reading your biography written by your parents, it'd probably have a sugar coated version of your life. Or at least it'd be different than the one you'd write about yourself, you know? I think that's why I was so intrigued by it!

  • I love, love, love books like Defending Jacob, they are always so gripping! I read it pretty fast!

  • Those are certainly the best books! I love when you finish a book and you just have to take a minute to process everything.

  • Good! I always try to do that! It was an interesting read, I like unconventional families, and Fin & Lady has a VERY unconventional family ahaha!

  • I always try to think out of the box with my exclamatory remarks haha!