Title: Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publishing: 2016 by Allen & Unwin
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary; Adult Fiction; Drama
Links: Goodreads \ Book Depository \ Amazon
Goodreads’ Rating: 4.4 / 5 stars
My Rating: 5/5 stars
‘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.
I purchased and read this book because a) I LOVE Jodi Picoult and; b) because as some of you may know, I am attending her Q & A session and signing for this amazing book! Now that I have read it, I am even more excited to meet her (if that is even possible). So let’s get to the review..
This book follows three main characters, first we have Ruth, who is an African American nurse, who has been working in the same hospital for twenty years, delivering and caring for newborn babies. Until one day when a set of parents ask for Ruth not be involved in the care of their baby, because they are white supremacists and she is black. Within a matter of days, the couple’s baby has died and they are blaming Ruth for his death, who is arrested and tried for murder and negligent homicide.
Then we have Kennedy McQuarrie (I love her name) who is the public defender who takes Ruth’s case to court. She is a white woman who doesn’t see herself as racist and is doing everything in her power to get her client acquitted.
The third main character in this book is Turk Bauer, the skin-head father of the infant who died. He is a horrible man, in my opinion. His chapters made me cringe. He is full of hate towards everyone who is not like him and it made me angry.
This book had me on the edge of my seat. I read the last 60% of this in one sitting because I was desperate to see how it ended for Ruth. I knew that I would enjoy this book, as it is by Picoult, but it was an amazing book to read and it has shot up to the top of my favourites. The characters were all so different, and they changed and developed as the story unfolded. There were parts that I wanted to yell and scream with anger and frustration and other times that I wanted to cry. Small Great Things was a roller coaster of emotion, and even as I sit here writing this review, I still can’t shake it, it will be with me for a long time to come.
There is a lot of courtroom scenes in this book, so that will appeal to those who like a little of the crime genre, but generally if you are after a drama-filled read that will have you holding your breath to the very end, then you really need to pick this one up!
The ending of this book, although was what I hoped, also had some very unexpected twists. It could not have ended any more perfectly in my opinion and it gives you hope that in time, the world can change and so can the people in it.
Thank you for reading my review of Small Great Things! I hope you enjoyed it! Has anyone read this book?? What did you think?? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments down below!
Until next time, happy reading!
About the Author:
Picoult studied creative writing with Mary Morris at Princeton, and had two short stories published in Seventeen magazine while still a student. Realism – and a profound desire to be able to pay the rent – led Picoult to a series of different jobs following her graduation: as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher – before entering Harvard to pursue a master’s in education. She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale. (jodipicoult.com)