Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult Book Review
Published October 11th 2016
The lowdown from Goodreads
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.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult Book Review
This Story Is Rooted In Truth
I admit, this is my first Jodi Picoult novel & that shocked the Amazon Books clerk & what a great introduction to Jodi’s work. This book is masterfully crafted. I usually reserve that terminology for a fine cheese, but this is a fine book.
While reading this, I kept telling everyone about it. It takes a while to explain the plot & many a potential reader grimaced after my lead in. I found myself repeating, “It’s good, I mean it’s hard to read in some parts, but it’s impactful & certainly relevant.” This story is rooted in truth & Jodi researched it for several years. This story is emotional, hard & so challenging in parts, especially regarding the White Supremacists. It’s baffling the fear, ignorance & hatred that is ingrained in these individuals.
Small Great Things Is A Great Book Club Pick
This book is ripe for a book club. It brings up so many issues, social class, fear, bigotry, hatred & prejudice in America. I mean, what a time for this book to be published when there is already a national conversation about race in the US. A book club could spend a few weeks just tackling some of the issues this novel touches on. Jodi writes so beautifully about this topic that most people are fearful to discuss, but my belief is talking about these issues in a kind, meaningful way is what could possibly increase empathy & understanding. This is one of my favorite books this year, for sure. I think I will be talking about it for a long time.
I was Really Into This book! Small Great Things is incredible. The story is important, emotional, raises questions that one cannot easily answer, discusses racism in America & has an element of suspense. I mean- WOW! If you’re looking for another impactful read, check out Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore.
Have you read this book or any of Jodi’s work? What’s your favorite book by Jodi?
Let’s connect over books! Check out our Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult Book Review on Goodreads.
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About the Author: Jodi Picoult
Picoult studied creative writing with Mary Morris at Princeton, and had two short stories published in Seventeen magazine while still a student. Realism – and a profound desire to be able to pay the rent – led Picoult to a series of different jobs following her graduation: as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher – before entering Harvard to pursue a master’s in education. She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale.
She wrote five issues of the Wonder Woman comic book series for DC Comics. Her books are translated into thirty four languages in thirty five countries. Four – The Pact, Plain Truth, The Tenth Circle, and Salem Falls – have been made into television movies. My Sister’s Keeper was a big-screen released from New Line Cinema, with Nick Cassavetes directing and Cameron Diaz starring, which is now available in DVD. She received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Dartmouth College in 2010 and another from the University of New Haven in 2012.
Jodi serves on the advisory board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, a research-driven organization whose goal is to increase critical attention to contemporary women’s writing and to foster transparency around gender and racial equality issues in contemporary literary culture. She is part of the Writer’s Council for the National Writing Project, which recognizes the universality of writing as a communicative tool and helps teachers enhance student writing, and is a spokesperson for Positive Tracks/Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, which supports youth-led charity fundraising through athletics. She is on the advisory committee of the New Hampshire Coalition Against the Death Penalty. She is also is the founder and executive producer of the Trumbull Hall Troupe, a New Hampshire-based teen theater group that performs original musicals to raise money for local charities; to date their contributions have exceeded $120K. She and her husband Tim and their three children live in Hanover, New Hampshire with two Springer spaniels, two rescue puppies, two donkeys, two geese, ten chickens, a smattering of ducks, and the occasional Holstein.