Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

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.

This book was incredible. It’s important, emotional, raises questions that one cannot easily answer, discusses racism in America & has an element of suspense. I mean- WOW!

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.

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.

Have you read this book or any of Jodi’s work? What’s your favorite book by Jodi?

Jodi’s Website      Buy this Book

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