Publication date: October 11th 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format: ebook, 480 pages
How I got it: Netgalley to provide an honest review
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
My rating: 5/5
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 a powerful read. I couldn’t put this one down once I started it and I am not sure why I put it off so long.
This book follows Ruth Jefferson who is a labor and delivery nurse for a local hospital. Ruth has been a nurse for many years. One day while at work a couple asks for Ruth to be removed from their case because of the color of her skin. Due to an unfortunate series of events the child does not make it. Ruth is then blamed for the death of the child and is taken to trial.
The story felt so natural, raw and real that I was hooked once it got going. The author does an amazing job bringing all the emotions to the surface in this book. The book gave me a lot to think about personally about my actions and reactions to different situations in my life. I love when a book is thought provoking. The author takes us for a journey in this book and it is one I will not forget easily.
This book is told through three POV’s. We have Ruth who is on trial for the murder, the father of the baby Turk who is a white supremacist and Kennedy the public defender for Ruth.
Ruth is such a strong and determined main character. I loved that we got to see flashbacks of the past of how she became to be the person that we know her to be today. I enjoyed getting to see her relationship with her family as well as how she feels about race in the world today. It was refreshing look on racisim coming from Ruth’s eyes that people might not even consider. I enjoyed reading Ruth’s views during the book and seeing her relationship with Kennedy form. I loved to see the relationship Ruth had with her son as well.
Turk was an interesting character. The author did a great job staying in character with Turk the entire time. He was going through the grieving of losing a child, while also trying to justify his white supremacist attitude. I did like getting a look at what Turk was thinking and getting to see when he had questions about his beliefs arise. I also did like hearing of how he ended up where he was today.
Kennedy was an outstanding character in this book. I loved that she thought she had her whole life figured out and then got this case, which brought her a dose of reality. Kennedy in my mind grew leaps and bounds during this book. I loved that we got to see her mind changing and her thoughts on everything going on in her life. Kennedy took things into her own hands and tried to step into the shoes of Ruth. Originally Kennedy’s goal was to get Ruth off on murder, but the story went way beyond that.
The author does a great job with the pacing of the story. The story keeps moving forward while we learn about each character, but we also get to see tidbits of the past that bring the story further to life. I loved all the side characters that we got in the book because it helped make the story feel authentic.
I would suggest this as more of a weekend read. I read it at night and found myself reading late into the night because I didn’t want to put it down and needed to know what was going to happen. I would have loved to sit down on a weekend and be able to dive into longer reading sessions.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley to provide an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book.
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.
Her new novel, SMALL GREAT THINGS, is available in hardcover, ebook, and audio on October 11th.