Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

September 12, 2017 Book review 4 ★★★★★

I wrote this review for Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult immediately after I read it.  While I was still full of all the feels and thoughts, I spewed them all out.  So if it makes no sense, that’s why!

Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi PicoultSmall Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Published by Allen & Unwin on October 12th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 470
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library

'I don't want that nurse touching my baby.' Those are the instructions from the newborn child's parents. However, when the baby goes into cardiac arrest, Ruth, a nurse of twenty years' experience, sees no option but to assist. But the baby dies. And Ruth is charged with negligent homicide.
Ruth is shattered and bewildered as she tries to come to terms with her situation. She finds different kinds of support from her sister, a fiery radical, and her teenage son, but it is to Kennedy McQuarrie, a white middle-class lawyer, to whom she entrusts her case, and her future.
As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear. In order for the privileged to prosper, they come to realise, others have to suffer. Racism takes many forms, and is reinforced and underpinned by the structures of our society.
In gripping dramas like Nineteen Minutes, My Sister's Keeper and The Pact, Jodi Picoult has explored the big issues of our time through characters whose lives resonate with us. Here we see once again her unrivalled ability to immerse us in a story whose issues will linger with us long after the final page has been finished.


My thoughts on Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I have no idea how to review a book like this when the subject matter is so topical, shocking and thought-provoking. All I can say is I took in the message that even when you think you are absolutely in no way racist, there are lots of subtle ways that you can still be blind to what your actions are saying. Message digested, it tasted bitter but I swallowed and feel better informed after reading Small Great Things. I won’t ever know what it’s like not to be a white person, but reading makes me more empathetic, and gives me insights in to views that I will never experience.

I know controversy exists as the author is also white, but her research shines through. It’s evident that she consulted, studied, enquired, investigated and most of all listened. The voices ring authentic to me and her characters got under my skin.

I loved Ruth (the black nurse accused of murdering a baby in her care, due to neglect), Kennedy her lawyer and a whole range of interesting side characters that rounded out the story. Turk and Brittany, the white supremacists, disgusted me with their hatred and skewed thoughts. They forbid Ruth to care for their newborn baby (as Ruth is black), and insist the hospital place a note on their file stating this. Quite honestly, they sickened me right to my stomach as their story unfolded and I lived through their violent actions.

The subsequent court case sparked with drama, tension and heated debates. This ensured the pace flowed briskly, and kept me flipping pages quickly to see the outcome.

Overall it’s an understatement to say this isn’t an easy read. I wanted to flinch from the brutal storyline, but I also wanted to stay up all night reading it. Highly recommended.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: five-stars


Why Should Read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult?

In a nutshell..everyone.  It’s a great book to start discussions, create awareness and on top of that it’s a riveting read.  Fans of authors such as Diane Chamberlain and Heather Gudenkauf should also enjoy.


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4 Responses to “Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult”

  1. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

    I’ve heard amazing things about this one. I used to read Jodi’s books all the time but it’s been years now. I need to check this out. It’s definitely easy to have prejudices – it’s not that someone is racist, but you internalize things you don’t always realize sometimes. It’s good to open your eyes more, even if it’s hard.
    Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance recently posted…Gone for You by Riley Hart

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