Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Publication Date: October 2016
My Rating: ✹✹✹✹✹
“Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.
With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.”
“What if the puzzle of the world was a shape you didn’t fit into? And the only way to survive was to mutilate yourself, carve away your corners, sand yourself down, modify yourself to fit? How come we haven’t been able to change the puzzle instead?”
I have read every single one of Jodi Picoult’s novels, and I have loved every single one of them. She is my favourite author, for obvious reasons. Each and every one of her novels has such a powerful storyline, which teaches readers a lot of new things and opens their minds to a new way of thinking.
But this one, bloody hell!
It was truly incredible. I am struggling to find the right words to describe this novel. This novel hit me hard. It was extremely difficult to read at times. As you can see from the Goodreads description, this novel is centred around racism and white privilege.
The novel is told from 3 points of view; Ruth a African American nurse, Kennedy a white defense lawyer and Turk a white supremacist. Turk’s chapters where very hard to read. In fact, from Turk’s very first sentence, I hated him. The time spent reading Turk’s point of view were anxiety inducing. I just couldn’t understand such an extreme hatred. It made me angry, sad, and uncomfortable. Turk’s parts took me the longest to read, honestly I’ve never turned over the corner of so many pages to mark my page, within a single chapter before.
And, I’m ashamed to say, that often Ruth and Kennedy’s chapters made me feel slightly uncomfortable and very sad too, as I saw a lot of truth in what they were saying and it opened my eyes to the passive racism around me, and everyone else. I honestly didn’t realise just how naive I was.
This novel also made me extremely angry, and that’s good. What happened to Ruth, is unjust, it’s unfair and it’s inhumane. We should question situations. If something seems completely wrong to us we should dig deeper on the subject; and consider someone else’s opinion on the matter.
This novel, as always by Jodi Picoult, was very well written. It was easy to follow the different points of view and the characters were so well-developed. It is clear to see how much research went into this book. Jodi has done an admirable job of raising an issue that so needs to be discussed.
Although Small Great Things is tough to read at times, I think it’s an extremely important read and I highly recommend it everyone. A very well deserved 5 stars.
About The Author:
Jodi Picoult was born and raised in Nesconset on Long Island; her family moved to New Hampshire when she was 13 years old. She studied writing at Princeton University, and graduated in 1987. She published two short stories in Seventeen magazine while still in college. She earned a master’s degree in education from Harvard University. Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-three novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Leaving Time, The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. It is estimated that there are 40 million books by Jodi Picoult in print —in 35 countries.