Sunday, December 11, 2016

4-Star Review of "small great things"

Review of small great things

by Jodi Picoult


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 REVIEW:  I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult's writing, but this one was hard for me to become interested in. Once I had read a few chapters, the pace picked up and I was invested in the story and the lives of the characters.  One thing I love and could always count on in Jodi's books are the surprise endings.  Unfortunately, I was able to figure out what was coming in this book.  I have never been able to do that in one of her books previously.   
        Ruth was one of the most likable characters and she was "real". She did not pull any punches.  She is an excellent nurse, according to all her colleagues and former patients, and she takes pride in her work.  So when she was pulled from nursing duty for a couple who had just delivered their firstborn, a son, she is furious.   The father makes no attempt to hide his racist tattoos and his rude behavior.    Ruth is raising her teenage son alone and she is worried how this will effect him and she wants him to stay on path towards college. Ruth and her attorney, Kennedy, are not too sure about each other.  They butt heads quite a few times, but Ruth has to trust Kennedy to save her from a prison sentence.  Kennedy doesn't want race to be brought into the case at all, as she insists that it has nothing to do with the case and will poison the jury against Ruth.   So will they come to an agreement?  Is Ruth headed for prison?  Who will care for her son if she's locked up?  He just has to go to college, and Ruth insists on this.   
         It is truly shocking to think that there are actually people still behaving as though we still have slavery and hating people of different races, cultures, religions, and sexual orientation.  It is also shocking that these racist people hate enough to hurt and kill to express their hatred.   Jodi did bring attention to issues that we are still dealing with and need desperately to end.
       I rated this book 4 stars and highly recommend it to readers.
       I received a copy of this book from netgalley and I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author:
Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-three novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Leaving Time, The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

Her new novel, SMALL GREAT THINGS, is available in hardcover, ebook, and audio on October 11th.




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