Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Small Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Once again Jodi Picoult shows great skill in exploring some of the most difficult and emotional subjects without preaching or forcing a viewpoint on the reader. In "Small Great Things" we learn the story of Ruth, a dedicated labor and delivery nurse. Ruth carefully negotiates her position as a black woman in a predominately white world, until a tragedy at work that rips apart her carefully crafted world. Picoult is a master storyteller who is able to give the perspectives of a white supremacist family who sees Ruth as a murderer, and they are desperately seeking revenge. We get to know Turk and Brit, and somehow Picoult manages to help us see into their unique lifestyle and world views, while still keeping their humanity as grieving parents. The readers also get to meet Kennedy, a white public defender who sees herself as a champion choosing to help the less fortunate, but Ruth's case forces Kennedy to address her own feelings about race and the subtle bias that affects so much of our lives. Kennedy struggles with this newfound awareness as she prepares Ruth's defense.
The storytelling in this book is powerful, and Picoult is masterful at helping the reader relate to the characters, even Turk and Brit with their horrific world view and their all-consuming grief and anger. Perhaps the most compelling emotion for me was the frustration that Ruth feels from a system that fails to show her the loyalty and decency she has earned, and her emotions are so raw and real that readers will have a visceral reaction to the anguish Ruth feels. I hate to repeat the over-used book review phrase "I couldn't put it down" but I really couldn't put it down. I was so captivated by this story and all of its nuance and depth of emotion that at one point while reading I realized I was actually holding my breath to see what would happen next.
Small Great Things should be added to everyone's to-read list, it is a powerful story that will captivate readers.
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