Thursday, 27 October 2016

Great Small Things by Jodi Picoult

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Ruth Jefferson is a labour and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience.  During her shift, Ruth begins a routine check up on a new-born, 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 candour, 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 review:

Jodi Picoult has been one of my favourite authors ever since I picked up a battered, library copy of her novel The Pact.  This highly talented author creates characters that get under your skin and keep you awake at night, one minute sympathising with them and next minute screaming them down. 

She skilfully picks a subject that is almost taboo in our modern society and turns it into a piece of work that makes you think and question your own beliefs.

Small Great Things is one of those novels that everyone should read.  A book that should be made mandatory as it covers one of the most skirted around subjects there is – racism.  Racism is like a black hole that eats you up and never lets you go.  We all have an idea of what the word ‘racism’ means to us but trust me; this novel will make you question everything you know.

As the blurb suggest Ruth Jefferson is a labour nurse (midwife).  She does her job well and still gets punished for the colour of her skin.  Both Ruth and her lawyer Kennedy are both very strong women and extremely likable characters that develop and kind of grow up throughout the difficult relationship they are thrown into.  This lawsuit changes the lives of more people than you’d think and I have a feeling that in a way it has changed me too.  I found myself feeling sorry for a person I thought I would clearly hate and that surprises me even now.  But as the book suggests some of us are lucky to be born a certain way and some of us have to work extra hard to try and fit in and nobody is saying that will ever work.

I applaud Jodi Picoult on her brilliance and bravery to talk this important issue and thank you to the publisher, Jodi Picoult and NetGalley for letting me read this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 5/5

Book available from:

Amazon US

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