Small Great Things – A Book Review

About the book (from Amazon):

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, 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 candor, 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 thoughts:

I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult and have read many of her books. They are all so powerful and often heart-wrenching. This one was definitely heart-wrenching, but it was just not a book I enjoyed reading at all. I honestly read it quickly just so I could be done with it and I only finished it because I had received a complimentary copy in exchange for my fair and honest review. It made me so angry, and I just do not enjoy feeling that the entire time I read a book. I believe that it is good for a book to be provoking and cause people to think, but this one just did not do it well in my opinion. Picoult seemed to show one side well (according to her author’s note at the end), but it just did not feel well rounded to me. I get what she is trying to accomplish in writing this book. There is so much going on in our country in regards to race right now and it is something that we all should think about and work on making better, so I applaud her in addressing it. I just do not know if it will do what she is intending. I am also not a huge fan of the style of writing she used in this book with switching between three characters and their perspectives. Overall, I this book was not for me.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars, mostly out of respect for the author and her previous work.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley for my fair and honest review.

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