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."