Thought-provoking novel

Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

This book tackles a very controversial subject – racism. A white supremacist couple have requested that the hospital where their son was just born reassign their nurse from Ruth, who is a person of color, to a white nurse.  They don’t want Ruth to touch their baby.  The nurse tells Ruth she isn’t allowed to treat this baby.  But then an emergency comes up and the tragic outcome lands Ruth on trial for murder.


Ms. Picoult has chosen a very tricky subject and has done a great job describing the every-day indignities that people of color experience.   Ruth’s lawyer is white and thinks that she is unbiased and understands the plight of black Americans .  Yet as she and Ruth get closer and create a tenuous bond between them, she is shocked at how little she did understand.  This will be an eye-opening book for many.  There are no easy answers for this moral dilemma. 


Please note that this quote is from an ARC of this book and may be changed in the final edition but it struck such a chord with me that I had to include it in this review: “Equality is treating everyone the same.  But equity is taking differences into account, so everyone has a chance to succeed.”  The author goes on to give an example.  Giving a printed test to two kids is equal but not if one of them is blind.


At one point, I was going to give this book 4 stars as there were some parts of it I found quite a bit slanted. Ruth blamed so many things on her being a person of color when some of those things could just have easily happened to a white person.  But as was mentioned in the book, a white person hasn’t lived the life of a person of color so they don’t have a good understanding of that life and the resentment that builds over time.  Those moments of doubt that I had at the beginning of the book dissolved as the book went on.  The trial is amazingly suspenseful, interesting and unpredictable.  Kennedy and Ruth’s relationship was written so true and honestly.   There is also a twist near the end that I never saw coming.  And the ending was absolutely beautiful and made me cry.


People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.

   Nelson Mendela  - “Long Walk to Freedom”


This book was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review. Highly recommended.