Small Great Things
by Jodi Picoult
“There is a fire raging, and we have two choices: we can turn our backs, or we can try to fight it. Yes, talking about racism is hard to do, and yes, we stumble over the words – but we who are white need to have this discussion among ourselves. Because then, even more of us will overhear, and – I hope – the conversation will spread.” – Jodi Picoult
This book has taken me a while to finish, but it’s not because I didn’t like it, it’s because this is a book which truly deserves time and thought.
I’ve read a few books by Jodi Picoult now and they are always brutally honest, detailed and vivid. “Small Great Things” is no exception. A heavy read, this book tells a story from three perspectives. The first perspective is that of Ruth Jefferson. She’s a widowed nurse with 20 years of experience behind her, however during a routine procedure, a newborn baby dies her care. This would have been where the story had ended should she not have previously been banned from looking after him just for being black. The person who had requested this ban was white supremacist, Turk Bauer, the baby’s father and the second voice we hear from. What follows is a legal battle led by the final voice of defense attorney Kennedy McQuarrie.
Picoult is a great storyteller, each character is well developed with detailed background and motives and it’s intense, you feel fully immersed in the story. Battling a number of controversial topics, Picoult is daring, she writes well and it’s clear a lot of research has gone into producing this book. In a similar way to “My Sister’s Keeper“, I can certainly see a movie adaptation coming soon.
All that said, this book is not quite perfect for me. There were some parts I felt were a little too politically correct and not as honest as they could be. In addition, one of the characters endings was resolved in a way I didn’t feel was realistic or necessary.
Overall rating: A raw, honest story which really makes you think. Jodi Picoult‘s “Small Great Things” has had me gripped for the past couple of weeks and had characters which were so detailed that it felt as though this story was real. With few reasons to mark it down, I’ll be giving this story 4 stars.