Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Published by Ballantine Books
My Rating: (4/5 bookworms)
Every once in a while I get into what I like to call a “book slump”. I pick up a book, read a few pages and set it down. I do this to a few books until finally I don’t read anything at all and do something else for a few days. This is rare for me, and I find it frustrating. I was in one of these book slumps when I picked up Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.
I have read three other books by Picoult and have known her books to be extremely well researched and captivating. Small Great Things did not disappoint. From the first few pages I was captured into the book and devoured it in the course of a few days.
Small Great Things is a work of fiction written around a very real subject: racism. The story follows Ruth, a labor and delivery nurse working at a Connecticut hospital in present day. During one of her shifts Ruth is forbidden to care for a newborn baby due to the parents, being white supremacists , refusing care from an African American. This quickly becomes a problem when the baby goes into cardiac arrest with Ruth being the only nurse available to intervene. Ruth pauses before providing care and is therefore faced with a felony charge.
One of my favorite parts about this book is the way it is written from multiple viewpoints. We not only get to experience the story from Ruth’s point of view, but also her white lawyer, and the white supremacist father. This book allowed me to experience all sides of racism and how everyone believes that their beliefs are the right way. Jodi Picoult did an awe inspiring job of writing about racism in a way that I have never read before. It was truly and eye opening experience for me.
Reading about race can be hard, I can only imagine writing about it to be even harder. What this book taught me is that it needs to be talked about as well. Racism is alive, and hidden where even I didn’t realize it was.
“If I can not do great things, I can do small great things in a great way.” -quoting Martin Luther King Junior
“What if the puzzle of the world was a shape you didn’t fit into? And the only way to survive was to mutilate yourself, carve away your corners, sand yourself down, modify yourself to fit?”
“We all do it, you know. Distract ourselves from noticing how time’s passing.”