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.
Wow, what a powerful, moving and thought provoking read! I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to read an early copy of this book. Small Great Things makes you question everything you thought you knew about yourself and is a real eye opener to the reality of life in modern day America. It tackles racism with a brutal honesty that is rarely seen in fiction, and is a book like no other I’ve ever read before.
As someone who has personal experience of the devastation caused by the death of a baby, I thought this element of the story was also handled brilliantly well. I found the chapters dealing with this extremely moving, and so realistic I had to give myself a breather in between chapters to get my emotions back in check.
Small Great Things is a special, brilliantly written book that everyone should read. It is an uncomfortable and painful read at times, but is also an important one, especially in light of the current climate of the world right now.
This is my first Jodi Picoult book, and I have to admit I have purposely avoided her work in the past, but that is something I will rectify in the future. I went into it not really knowing what to expect and was completely blown away by her skill as a writer.
For me, Small Great Things is a masterpiece and a classic of the future. Beautifully written, it has taken me on an uncomfortable but moving rollercoaster of a journey that has put me through an emotional wringer. It takes a writer of great skill to tackle subjects like this with such brutal honesty. It is also some feat to make you loathe a character and their actions with every fibre of your being, but to still feel empathy for them and what they’re going through.
One of the most powerful and thought provoking books I have ever read, Small Great Things is a book that will stay with me and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
An outstanding read.