Book Review // Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Book Review // Small Great Things by Jodi PicoultSmall Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Published by Random House Publishing Group on October 11th 2016
Rating: five-stars
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Literary, Sagas
Pages: 480
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Synopsis:

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead readers to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, Small Great Things is the stunning new page-turner from Jodi Picoult.
“[Picoult] offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book.”—Booklist (starred review)
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.

Jodi Picoult is by far one of the best storytellers of this generation – perhaps of any generation. She’s unafraid to write about the hard topics in life, and I learn more from reading her books than I ever did at school, and I am always amazed at her ability to write such amazing, outstanding, thought-provoking novels time after time. It’s actually been an age since her last book, or so it seems, so Small Great Things has been a book I’ve been waiting for, and been incredibly excited about. It’s also the kind of novel I could never do justice to in my review. I say that a lot, because with books like Small Great Things, you never know what to say, how to get across how much a book impacts you, and this book makes an impact.

First off, let me tell you, much like Kennedy, I don’t think in terms of skin colour. But, as Ruth points out, because I am white, that’s still not exactly a helpful thing to think, or say, because I’ve never stood in Ruth’s shoes. Or any of the coloured people who have wrong-doings thrust upon them, because of the colour of their skin, and I will never know what that’s like, but to see Ruth’s perspective really opened my eyes. I knew about Trayvon Martin, of course, everyone has heard the name Trayvon Martin, and it’s an absolute tragedy, but to actually see Ruth’s point of view, to see her going to trial over the death of Davis, although it was fictional, it really made an impact, and opened my eyes to how being a person of colour is in day-to-day life. Simply going to the supermarket is subject to scrutiny, and that does make me sad.

What surprised me most was Turk and Brittany. I honestly have never heard of anyone being a white supremacist, and that’s just incredibly scary, how they act, how they feel, the things they do, that horrified me. I did not even know that was a thing, and while there were times I felt for Turk, mostly I was just revolted, because who acts like that? He seemed to be missing his compassionate gene, and his points of view just made me sad and angry, and wanted to get away from him and his voice as soon as possible, because he started this, it was all because of his beliefs that this all happened, and it just blew my mind, because who cares what colour your nurse is, as long as they provide the best care?

I really liked Kennedy, Ruth and Edison, though. The whole story was truly mind-blowing. No words can really do this book justice, Jodi Picoult is on tip-top form (as if I expected anything less, she is the queen of fiction). Small Great Things will stay with me way, way longer than any other book I’ve read this year, and I will re-read this book when I get my filthy hands on a hardback copy, come November. This is an astounding, powerful novel, and bravo Jodi for tackling it, she did it amazingly well, and this book will stick with me for a long time. A long, long time.

five-stars
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