Sunday, October 23, 2016

(89)Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult


For Ruth Jefferson, that shift was like any other shift.  She loved her job as a Labor and Delivery nurse and was checking on a newborn like she has every day for the last twenty years.   But then the baby's parents demand to see a supervisor.  Brit and Turk Bauer are White Supremacists and do not want a black woman, no matter what her qualifications, touching their baby. Ruth is furious but does as told by her superior.  Until the baby is in distress and Ruth is the only person there, but her efforts are fruitless and the baby dies.  Ruth is devastated to lose any baby and Davis Brauer is no different.   Before she knows what is happening her world is turned upside down.   Ruth is arrested and charged with murder.  She is at risk of losing everything - the career  she worked so hard to attain, the peaceful existence she shares with her son, and her arrest threatens to jeopardize everything her teenage son has worked for as well.   Will her public defender, a young white woman who is on her first murder case, be able to prove that Ruth did not murder that baby?  Will Ruth ever go back to the life she knew before the Brauers were in her hospital?


It took a lot of balls for Jodi Picoult to write this book.  Not only did she have to write a book from the perspective of a black woman, but also from the perspective of a white supremacist.  As a white woman, that must have been a very difficult thing for her to do. It would be very easy for her critics to tear her apart for trying to do either thing.   As always, Jodi Picoult, tells the story from multiple perspectives.  From Ruth, Turk, and Kennedy.  You get to see all sides and it was a little bit scary at times.  Getting into Turk's head was frightening - bone chilling.  Some of the rhetoric he was spouting is not that different from some rhetoric I see on social media from people that I know.   The racial inequality that happens across our country was front and center in this book. I think the author presented that best when she had Kennedy go shopping with Ruth to buy a birthday gift.  The way the store employees were all over Ruth in fear of her shoplifting and then they demanded to see her ID when she paid with a credit card, and finally when they were leaving the security guard demanded to see Ruth's receipt, but not Kennedy's.  It was a brilliant way to depict just how different their experiences really are in our world.  It was heartbreaking to see this woman work so hard to rise so far above what people expected - no stereotyped- her and her son to be, only to be reduced to nothing.  It was tough to read.   There was a big "revelation" that seemed a bit forced to me, but it tied everything up nicely.  - If only life were really that tidy.  -Click Here For Spoilers -

Bottom line - I am not always impressed with Jodi Picoult's novels, sometimes they even anger me.  However, I think Small Great Things is a book that tackles a relevant hard-hitting topic. I also think that she is the perfect person to generate tough conversations in suburban book clubs all across the country.   Conversations that would never have happened if it were anybody else who had tackled this topic.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the book, be sure to leave a comment.

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1 comments :

Anonymous said...

I selected Small Great Things for my last book club and we had the most successful discussion in the 10 year history of our club.

It's a great read and really makes you think. Highly recommend this.