Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

small-great-thingsWhat’s it about?

Raised as the daughter of a black maid in a privileged white household, Ruth is no stranger to prejudice.

Now, as a hospital nurse, she thinks she is a world away from the inequality that defined her mother’s life. But the patients in her care have not all moved on so far. A white supremacist couple can dictate that no person of colour treats their newborn child.

And when that baby stops breathing on Ruth’s watch, Ruth has to decide whether her vocational oath is stronger than the hospital’s edict.

That decision – one a white nurse would never have had to make – could cost her everything.

My thoughts

This was my fourth Picoult novel and is contention for the best one.  She always manages to pick subjects that will provoke a reader’s emotions and this is no exeception, it’s brilliant.

Told from various points of view throughout but mostly Ruth, Turk (the white supremacist) and Kennedy (the lawyer), they each in turn give us their take on racism; their thoughts and actions and how they deal with it, cope with it and even provoke it.

There are occasions where I felt that the situations Ruth and her son Edison were in and the things that they felt were over-dramatised or sensationalised but I put the book down and thought about it, and then thought, actually this kind of crap still happens on a daily basis.  Unless you’ve lived under a rock these past few months you’ve probably heard of the campaign #blacklivesmatter which has been very much in the news and is exactly the kind of discrimination this book is highlighting.

Had I not have known this was written by Picoult I would have put money on it being written by a black author; it’s so incredibly raw, packed with racial tension that comes across as incredibly authenic which at times makes for uncomfortable reading.  At the end of the day here we have a white author depicting what it feels like to be racially discriminated against every day of your life – very brave, but from reading some of her other books Picoult doesn’t pick easy to tackle subjects.

There’s nothing held back, it’s all very controversial and extremely on point topically.  I didn’t love the outcome in the epilogue but this didn’t detract from the sure fire winner this book will no doubt become.

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
Benjamin Franklin

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC – Small Great Things will be published in the UK on 22nd November 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton.

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Website | Twitter


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