Small Great Things. Finished April 28, 2018, rating 3.75/5, fiction, 458 pages, pub. 2016.
Jodi Picoult has a good thing going with a huge number of people who devour her books and always want more. I am not one of them and I’m not sure why. The first one I read was My Sister’s Keeper and I LOVED it. It’s still on my top 100 favorite list. I read two more (Vanishing Acts and The Pact) and thought they were okay. After reading this I still feel the same way. Picoult is a great writer and knows how to tell a story. The biggest difference with this one is that the subject matter is so on point for what is going on in our country right now, so I read it hoping for raw honesty and got it – up until a point. I will reveal no details but feel free to discuss in the comments.
Ruth is a labor and delivery nurse, the only one of color at her hospital, and when a white supremacist couple comes in to deliver they reject her and her superiors agree to switch nurses. Something bad goes down and Ruth is suspended and needs a lawyer, enter Kennedy, a young white lawyer who wants to take race out of the case right away. This book alternates between their three voices.
Turk’s chapters were difficult to read. It was hard for me to come to terms with that kind of hate. I feel like a got a firsthand look at the white power movement and it was beyond disturbing. Kennedy bore an almost too familiar feeling for this white mom. So many things we think we understand about racism are really only surface deep and it takes someone like Ruth to come along to give us a small glimpse into her world. The chapters between the women were what kept me reading. Honestly, I just wanted to stop every time I saw Turk’s name come up.
We read this for our book group and there were many positives and a general good feeling about the book. A few (me included) felt it was a little heavy handed. But we all agreed that it did open our eyes about what is going on all around us that we may not have noticed before, and really, what more could you want in a book club discussion?
What’s your favorite Jodi Picoult novel?
4 thoughts on “Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult”
I liked this more than you did. I think I gave it a 3.5/4. My all-time Picoult (and I’ve read all of her adult books) is The Storyteller, followed by My Sister’s Keeper and The Pact.
I’ve read several of Jodi Picoult’s books starting with The Pact many years ago. I really liked that one at that time. Then I read another and liked it too. As time passed, I have only sampled her books now and then. She has a way of telling the story and it’s pretty much the same from book to book. Which is OK, but I couldn’t read them back to back or another like that. Probably the one I’ve liked most was House Rules. If you think about that one though, check out the story – a teen boy on the spectrum. Might not work well for you or might annoy you if it wasn’t accurate, etc. I read Small Great Things recently for a book group, but decided not to share a review. I did ask my daughter (a L&D charge nurse) about what happened with changing the nurses, etc. Asked her if her hospital had protocol or if that had ever happened. She said that the exact situation had never happened, but they had experienced families that wanted no men staff in the room. She also said that the charge nurse putting a ‘post it’ in the chart would not be something she would do. Said she’d have to think about the situation, but hoped was not one she would ever have to experience. It went OK enough with the book group – some liked it – some didn’t. We agreed that we were likely the audience she was writing to.
I seem to either really like or really dislike her novels. Decided to skip this one.
Stacy, hope you are having a nice weekend. I read Small Great Things twice, once when it was first released and once for my book group. The book group discussion was excellent and most everyone enjoyed this one as did I.
Hope you, Jason and Gage have been well, sorry I have been lax in commenting.