My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Publisher - Ballantine Books
Pages - 480
Blurb from Godreads
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.
Ruth is an experienced nurse of twenty years, helping ladies through their labour and delivery, Ruth is also African American which until now hasn't been an issue. Her latest baby is the child of white supremacists who refuse to have Ruth touch their baby. When short staffing forces Ruth to be the one to check on the child and the child is having a medical emergency Ruth is torn between instinct and following orders. What follows will change Ruth's life forever.
Picoult is known for pushing the reader out of their comfort zones, creating some of the darkest moments human beings can be faced with and the human response. The story is told through three main characters points of view, Ruth of course, the nurse and accused. Turk is the father of the baby, supporter and advocate of white power, thinks nothing of violence and spewing racial venom. And lastly from Kennedy, Ruth's lawyer, Kennedy is by no means racist however after spending time with Ruth and seeing the world through her eyes she realizes she has a lot to learn.
This is no two ways about it, this is not an easy story to read. Not because it isn't well written, it absolutely is and it is no secret I do like Picoult books. It is the subject content, the blatant racism, the enablers of racism, those behind it who promote it, live breath and spread hatred. The absolute horror that whilst this is fiction, much of this hatred and bile still exists in today's society.
This book provokes emotion, thought, anger and the reader to examine if they contribute to this type of behaviour, because one who stands by and allows or ignores actions can be equally as guilty as those who do it. It is a story of passion, love, loss, relationships, family, racism, societal attitudes and human behavior. A story that will stay with you long after you have finished the last page, 4/5 for me this time. Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advance reader copy of this book.
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