Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Genre: General Fiction
Ruth Jefferson is a well respected and successful nurse who has been working in the Labor and Delivery ward of her hospital for 20 years. During a routine shift, Ruth begins a checkup on a newborn and new mother only to be abruptly told to leave the room. Minutes later, Ruth finds out that her supervisor has assigned another nurse to the patients’ care and rescheduled Ruth to a different room. The parents who Ruth started the shift with are white supremacists and have explicitly forbidden Ruth, who is African American, to touch their baby. The hospital decides to support the family’s choice and Ruth is told she’s not to touch baby Davis at all.
The following day, due to short staffing, Ruth is the only nurse available to observe baby Davis following a procedure he’s had. Suddenly, the baby goes into cardiac arrest and ultimately dies…Ruth finds herself accused of being responsible for Davis’ death. After being arrested and charged with murder, Ruth must put her trust and hope into a public defender named Kennedy McQuarrie who has zero experience with defending a murder trial. As the trial moves along, both Ruth and Kennedy must learn to understand and see that what they’ve been taught about about themselves, and each other, might be wrong.
This is the 20th Jodi Picoult novel that I have read of her 23 total published. Small Great Things is set to be released on October 11th of this year and I immediately applied for an ARC from Netgalley once I saw it listed. The style and prose of this book remind me of Picoult’s earlier work, like Plain Truth and The Pact. A style in which there is a major social issue tackled, it’s told in the perspective of multiple characters, and centered around a gripping court case. While I understand where some readers can find Picoult’s style predictable and redundant after so many novels…I personally feel like she does a really great job with keeping the social issues the main focus at the same time as keeping the emotional investment high in her characters. Small Great Things is a well written, gripping, and thought provoking novel about racism in many different forms. It tackles the very overt racism that we are all familiar with – the white supremacist with a swastika tattoo….but it also tackles the topic of the more silent, systemic racism that many people like to pretend does not exist anymore in 2016. I do have some small criticisms; the believability of certain technical details in the story pertaining to courtroom and medical procedures, and I did feel like some of the characters were written with a little too many stereotypical cliches. Overall…these issues are small compared to how much I enjoyed the rest of the novel. It’s definitely not the first book to be written about racism and it’s probably not even the best one to tackle the topic as there are many many great books on the subject. However….it’s one of the few that tackles the topic of racism in a modern day setting rather than as a historical fiction.
Fans of Jodi Picoult’s writing have been waiting for the releases of this one….it’s good…I recommend reading it. If you are new to reading her work, I think this is a good one to start with….Picoult likes to make her readers think and question their stances and ideals….so be prepared for those feelings while reading this book. Small Great Things is set to be released October 11th, but you can preorder your copy today by clicking on my link.
I received this e-ARC copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. I’d like to thank Netgalley, Random House Publishing ,and Jodi Picoult for the opportunity to read this book early.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Small Great Things – Amazon