Where do I begin with Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things? This novel totally had me glued from page one. I am often swept away into Picoult's writing and I expect nothing less than the best. Picoult delivers everything and more in this interesting and often revealing look into race matters after a black nurse is accused of murdering a white baby.
Ruth Jefferson has an exemplary record as a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital. There is no reason she should be removed from any patient given she's actually goes above and beyond for the babies and their parents. One day, all the experience, love and care doesn't mean a thing. She encounters a couple who have decided her many years of pedigree mean nothing and asks that she not care for their child because she is black. Wow!!!! Just to think... all that you are or have accomplished can be stripped away or even dismissed just because of your race. Sounds familiar... I can think of a couple people who this may apply to...
And that picture was not intended to be political in any way but... I've read tons of comments that would diminish all these two have accomplished academically and whittle them down to their skin color. Seriously!
Anyway, Ruth is in a compromising position once she is found alone with the baby who is coding. Nothing she or the emergency team does saves this baby's life. Ruth is eventually portrayed as a disgruntled employee who caused the death of a child just because his parent's were white supremacist.
Enter our great "white hope". See how I did that there? Made the fact that Kennedy is an awesome lawyer less relevant because of her skin color. It's not fair. And Picoult does not hold back either in this novel. She allows the racial matters that keep us apart and from being true friends to surface and does not in any way bite the bullot. Yes, this novel can be hard to read at times and possibly uncomfortable, but it's also why it's extremely thought provoking.
What's most riveting about this novel is of course the characters. Each character is amazingly fully developed that it makes it hard to look away. Even when the hate is seething from Turk (the white supremacist) I can't do anything besides feel sad for him. To have so much hate must be an awful burden to hold onto day in a day out. Also, the death of his son would make most say "well he got what he deserved" but I believe it's not that simple or easy. Especially since the baby didn't deserve to die. We can't choose our parents, our family, or many of our lives circumstances. We can only choose to learn from them and move on and forward.
Suffice it to say, Small Great Things was a thought provoking and riveting read. Picoult's court scenes in the few novels I've read by her give Grisham and Turow a run for their money. I can't wait to read more of her works. I know I have a few still waiting on my "to-read" shelf. I encourage everyone to read this novel. It's encouraged me to do "small great things" when I can. Hopefully, those small great things will lead to a better tomorrow for our children and their children. *****
Copy provided by Random House Publishing via Netgalley