Monday, August 1, 2016

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

This stunning new novel is Jodi Picoult at her finest—complete with unflinching insights, richly layered characters, and a page-turning plot with a gripping moral dilemma at its heart.

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.

My thoughts-

I have read several Jodi Picoult books and have loved them. They are always dramatic but interesting, which I can appreciate, but none have been as powerful as Small Great Things. We are living in a time where racism still exists and I think this book is relevant given the many things that have been in the news over the last few years about racial profiling and about unwarranted violence and brutality. Picoult has done a good job of getting into the heads of all sides of this story and showing us how each party might feel and what might have lead them to feel the way they do. She also helps us gain perspective, sometimes events appear to happen one way but it isn't what happened at all. I think this will be one of the biggest books of 2016 and could definitely see a movie adaptation (fingers crossed!) happening. I highly recommend Small Great Things to anyone at all who enjoys reading. I think this is an important and well written book that everyone should pick up. 

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