Small Great Things is Jodi Picoult’s newest book and probably her best to date. I have been a fan of Jodi Picoult’s books since My Sister’s Keeper and have read all of them more than once. I’m actually upset that it has taken me so long to read this masterpiece, well over a year.
In true Picoult style, the story is written from three different perspectives. The first is Ruth, who has been a nurse for over 20 years. She delivers babies and cares for them for the first few days of their life. She is capable and highly skilled but unfortunately for Ruth, she is African American which shouldn’t really affect her job. Suddenly Ruth meets Turk who would shortly ruin her nursing career. Ruth finds herself being accused of the death of Turk’s baby after he told the supervisor that Ruth was not to touch his baby. Turk is a neo-Nazi and believes that white supremacy rules the U.S and all others shouldn’t be treated the same. He and his wife accuse Ruth of murdering their newborn baby. The third perspective is from Kennedy, Ruth’s lawyer and lifesaver who will stop at nothing to prove Ruth’s innocence. But can they prove in time that Ruth wasn’t responsible for the death of baby Davis? Or will Turk’s prejudice win?
As with all Picoult books, I was gripped within the first few pages. Her writing really draws the reader in and leaves the reader begging for more. It’s a real page turner.
One of Picoult’s biggest assets I think, is writing from different perspectives because that forces us as the reader to see things from different angles and feel different emotions. We may not always like the emotions that are forced upon us though.
Ruth is a caring nurse and mother whose husband was killed in the War. Ruth is the first character we meet and identify with and I really felt I was being taken on the journey with her. I felt joyous when she spoke about the different emotions of helping to bring babies into the world and I felt upset and angry when Ruth was accused of killing baby Davis. I found myself really being in her shoes and felt the prejudice and racism that she faced throughout the whole book. This actually made me feel quite upset that in the 21st Century such hatred towards people of different races or religions still exits. I felt I identified with Ruth on a personal level, which Picoult often does in her books.
As much I don’t like to admit it, I also found myself identifying with Turk as well. Although he made me very angry and frustrated with his views on non-white Americans and the fact that he has a blog encouraging people to hate them, it also made me realise that I have been prejudiced before. I think we all have. And I think that Picoult wanted us to connect with that idea and really think about why we are prejudiced towards people who may be different to us in some way. I think she wanted us to identify with Turk in some way in that as humans, we can’t help but judge. Think about a time when you judged somebody because they have a different religion to you or because they might not eat meat. Indeed, simply judging someone is prejudice. And I think this was a clever move from Picoult to bring us, the reader, into the story. Still, no matter how much Turk irritated me and rubbed me the wrong way, I understood that his anger from losing his baby boy caused some of his actions. And I think that in life, when tragedy happens, we do find a way to blame others. Unfortunately for Turk it was all a matter of race. But there is a defining moment in the book that changes Turk for the better. Of course you have to read it to find out.
I found myself connecting with Kennedy to a lesser degree. I could connect to her as somebody coming to terms with that fact that she is prejudiced. I could also connect with her tenacity and her headstrong personality and the will to stop at nothing for justice.
Overall this book is gripping and very hard to put down. Picoult writes with an excellent knowledge of the subjects at hand, proving that she has done her necessary research as a writer. There is various medical terminology and protocols throughout that Picoult writes, which really gave me the sense of believability about this book, even though it is a work of fiction. Like in a lot of Picoult’s book, there is a lawsuit and subsequently a court case. And like in her previous books, Picoult’s knowledge of how court cases operate shines through. We as the reader are taken through the court case as if we are a member of the jury. I certainly felt like I was having to decide in this particular case who the guilty party was. This is what draws me into Jodi Picoult’s book. I can really feel like I’m involved with them on a deeper level than most fiction books.
I cannot recommend this book any more. There’s twists, like most Picoult books and suspense so you really find it hard to put it down. Although on a few occasions in this book, I did find it a little predictable, but that’s the only negative comment I can make about it. Probably Picoult’s most thought provoking work thus far and my favourite to date. Do yourself a favour and add this book to your must-read list. You will really won’t be disappointed by that. I definitely feel that those who read it will get something positive out of it.
Have you read this book? I would love you to share your thoughts of it with me.
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