Published by Ballantine Books on October 11th 2016
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.
I love the difficult topics explored in books by Jodi Picoult. I was a little nervous going into this one as it’s not an own voices novel. But I felt that Picoult handled this difficult topic with great care. The story is told with three perspectives, the nurse, the lawyer and the white supremacist. At first, I was annoyed because I did not want to listen (I listened to the audiobook), to the white supremacist chapters of this book because obviously, I hated him, but his story was just as important because it helped me understand how someone gets involved in so much hate.
I loved all the characters, even the ones you love to hate. I felt the “twist” was pretty good. I feel like Picoult is as well known for her twists as M. Night Shyamalan. The only reason this book got 4 stars instead of 5 from me is that I felt the end was kind of rushed. There was more I wanted to know that I felt could have been included in the end. There was no reason to really rush the end and leave me with some questions. But overall I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it.