Friday, September 9, 2016

Small Great Things; Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things; Jodi Picoult
Ballantine - 2016


Jodi Picoult's latest novel is compulsively readable and pushed many of my hot buttons -- the topic racism and prejudice.

At the center of the controversy is Ruth Jefferson, a well respected labor and deliver midwife in Connecticut.  Ruth is African American and the only black employee on her floor at the hospital where she works.  One day while Ruth is caring for a newborn, she gets an uncomfortable vibe from the father of the infant.  The next think she learns is that she has been reassigned and that she is not to care for Turk and Britt Bauer's newborn son Davis.  The Bauer's are White Supremacists and, they do no want any black employees caring for their son.

When a medical emergency involving the baby occurs and the infant dies, Ruth is fired from her job and arrested.  She soon finds herself in the midst of a court battle and she's been assigned a white public defender.

This is such a powerful story. It's told from the POV's of Ruth, Turk Bauer, and Kennedy, Ruth's public defender.  I loved Ruth's story from her humble childhood, and her reasons for becoming a nurse and learning of all of the difficulties she has experienced in her life.  Turk Bauer's story was tough to read about and at times I literally felt sick.  There were graphic descriptions of violence against blacks, Jews, gays and immigrants.  Kennedy's story and position was one I didn't always agree with but, I understood why she acted the way she did at times.  This is a story that evokes all kinds of emotions, I loved the majority of this book until a fairy-tale like ending spoiled it a bit for me.

The title, Small Great Things, comes from a Martin Luther King quote -- "If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way."

4/5 stars
(review copy)

25 comments:

  1. I do enjoy Picoult's books from time to time but often feel manipulated when I'm through with them. I sure hope incidences like that are unheard of these days.

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    1. I just can't imagine what kind of hatred toward another human would make someone behave that way.

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  2. I'm a little on the fence about reading this one, but I'll probably try it. Picoult's books always have an issue or a theme and I can't read them too closely together or I get annoyed. However, that being said, she's written several that enjoyed very much. So...yes, I'll pick it up.

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    1. Yes, all of her books take a serious/real issue and make you look at it from both sides.

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  3. I have this one, an e-ARC from NetGalley. I wish I had it in print form, as I love shelving favorites for reread (although I seldom do reread, lol).

    I am a fan of this author, of course, and the issues sound like ones that will provoke a lot of emotion...and I'm ready to be angry at some characters.

    Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to get started with this one.

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    1. I often feel the same way but, I rarely reread a book,

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  4. Sounds good. It's on order at my library, so I may borrow it.

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  5. That sounds quite good, sad and serious, but good!

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  6. I read her here and there and this one sounds worth checking out!

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  7. This one made me uncomfortable and angry and all kinds of weird... But I think that was the intent. I related to the white lawyer as a well-meaning white person myself. I think it would be an awesome book for a book club.

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    1. I agree, she has a way of making readers furious with her subject matter.

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  8. I've read all of Picoult's books and liked many of them, loved others. I will definitely read this one at some point.

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  9. I love jodi picoult and find she covers difficult subjects so well and without judgement. I will be reading this.

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    1. Emma, I agree that she often takes controversial subjects and makes really think about issues that are uncomfortable.

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  10. Diane, I am a Jodi Picoult fan. This sounds like another engaging novel. The title is wonderful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  11. You wrote a good review, but I just cannot read Jodi Picoult. She makes me twitchy with her heavy handed issues. The only thing I hope is that people who read her are learning things about such issues that they should be aware of.

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    1. "heavy handed" = yes, topics that will make many angry or uncomfortable.

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  12. The two subjects seem so very relevant now but I cannot handle Picoult any more. I find it far too heavy right now.

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  13. I recently (within the past year?) read two of Picoult's novels. Leaving Time and The Storyteller both left lasting impressions on me and I thoroughly enjoyed the books, as I have with the majority of her novels. I have the ARC of this and will read it, but I think I'll wait a bit. I hate to read too many books by the same author so close together. Maybe later this winter. Glad you enjoyed it, in spite of the subject matter.

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  14. I've shied away from Piccoult, partly because I feel like she's all about writing about the latest issue. But these are issues that really resonate with me and it sounds like it really works. I'll have to give it a shot.

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