Thursday, October 13, 2016

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult ~ My Thoughts


Small Great Things

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult  
Series: Ruth Jefferson #1
Print and e-book, 480 pages
Published: October 11th 2016 by Ballantine Books

Ruth, an African-American nurse, has worked at a CT hospital for nearly twenty years as a labor and delivery nurse. So when a young couple, Turk and Brittany, come into the hospital to have their baby, it is business as usual -- until Turk calls in Ruth’s white supervisor after the birth. He says, “I don’t want her or anyone like her to touch my boy,” and pulls up his sleeve to reveal a swastika tattoo: he and his wife are Skinheads. The hospital is used to making patient requests -- they have women who request female OBs, and others who don’t want be cared for by a resident. So a note is placed on the baby’s file and all African-American staff are exempted from caring from that patient -- meaning Ruth, who is the only Black nurse on the ward. The baby is taken to the nursery a day after its birth so circumcision can be done. However, Ruth’s nursing colleague is called away on an emergency C section and Ruth is the only person in the nursery when the baby has cardiac/respiratory failure. After a brief hesitation – she intervenes – and yet, the baby dies. Not long after that, Ruth learns she has been charged with negligent homicide by the state.

Ruth’s attorney is a white woman -Kennedy McQuarrie- who would not consider herself a racist by any means. Like Ruth, she has a child. But unlike Ruth, her family has never had to think about race on a daily basis. In spite of the evidence and the request of a Skinhead barring Ruth from doing her job, Kennedy knows she won’t talk about race in court, because she’d run the risk of polarizing the jury or the judge and losing the case. But to Ruth, that’s not justice.

As the two women form an alliance, and then an unlikely friendship, Kennedy begins to see that racism isn’t just about intent, but power. That even if Skinheads like Turk did not exist, Ruth would still be fighting an uphill battle. And she begins to seek a way to make a predominantly white jury see that they are responsible for the house they did not build…but in which they live.

My thoughts about Small Great Things ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—'The miracle happened on West Seventy-Fourth Street, in the home where Mama worked.'

Jodi Picoult's books always cover very timely, controversial topics that can sometimes be hard to read. This one was no different. Small Great Things made me take a look at my feelings about race and racial inequality. This book seriously opened my eyes about how I think about people who are different from me. It gave me a little taste of what it might be like to be 'someone of color' and how they might think and feel, something I had thought very little about before I started this book.

As always, this current Picoult book is a fabulous, thought provoking, emotional read that I devoured and thoroughly enjoyed. I love this line from the book and it is so very true.....

'....every baby is born beautiful. It's what we project on them that makes them ugly.'

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book and am voluntarily reviewing it.

Purchase Small Great Things

About the author

photo: Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult, 50, is the bestselling author of twenty-three novels and two YA novels co-written with her daughter Samantha van Leer. Her last eight novels have debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Her highly anticipated novel-in-progress, Small Great Things, will be released this fall as follows: October 11, 2016 (US/Canada), October 12, 2016 (Australia), and November 22, 2016 (UK).

Connect with Jodi

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  1. Glad we agree about this book! Great review.

  2. Enjoyed your review and now really do want to read it!

  3. I've heard great things about this book. I love that Jodi Picoult is not afraid to take such a touchy subject and bring it to light.


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