Raised the daughter of a black maid in a privileged white household, Ruth Jefferson is no stranger to prejudice – though as a respected senior nurse, she feels a world away from the inequality that defined her mother’s life.
Kennedy McQuarrie is a lawyer who defends those who would otherwise be helpless, and would not consider herself a racist by any means.
When a white supremacist accuses Ruth of a crime that leads to the death of his new-born baby, and costs Ruth her job, Kennedy knows it is the kind of case she became a lawyer to win.
As the trial unfolds and the efforts to establish the truth about what happened in the hospital continue, all three – accused, accuser and defender – will be forced to confront much bigger truths: the truths they tell themselves about the world they live in, the values upon which they’ve raised their families and the beliefs around which they’ve lived their lives.
Never afraid to confront the moral dilemma of our times in the most human terms, SMALL GREAT THINGS is Jodi Picoult at her thought-provoking, life-affirming best.
Jodi Picoult is by far one of the best storytellers of this generation – perhaps of any generation. She’s unafraid to write about the hard topics in life, and I learn more from reading her books than I ever did at school, and I am always amazed at her ability to write such amazing, outstanding, thought-provoking novels time after time. It’s actually been an age since her last book, or so it seems, so Small Great Things has been a book I’ve been waiting for, and been incredibly excited about. It’s also the kind of novel I could never do justice to in my review. I say that a lot, because with books like Small Great Things, you never know what to say, how to get across how much a book impacts you, and this book makes an impact.
First off, let me tell you, much like Kennedy, I don’t think in terms of skin colour. But, as Ruth points out, because I am white, that’s still not exactly a helpful thing to think, or say, because I’ve never stood in Ruth’s shoes. Or any of the coloured people who have wrong-doings thrust upon them, because of the colour of their skin, and I will never know what that’s like, but to see Ruth’s perspective really opened my eyes. I knew about Trayvon Martin, of course, everyone has heard the name Trayvon Martin, and it’s an absolute tragedy, but to actually see Ruth’s point of view, to see her going to trial over the death of Davis, although it was fictional, it really made an impact, and opened my eyes to how being a person of colour is in day-to-day life. Simply going to the supermarket is subject to scrutiny, and that does make me sad.
What surprised me most was Turk and Brittany. I honestly have never heard of anyone being a white supremacist, and that’s just incredibly scary, how they act, how they feel, the things they do, that horrified me. I did not even know that was a thing, and while there were times I felt for Turk, mostly I was just revolted, because who acts like that? He seemed to be missing his compassionate gene, and his points of view just made me sad and angry, and wanted to get away from him and his voice as soon as possible, because he started this, it was all because of his beliefs that this all happened, and it just blew my mind, because who cares what colour your nurse is, as long as they provide the best care?
I really liked Kennedy, Ruth and Edison, though. The whole story was truly mind-blowing. No words can really do this book justice, Jodi Picoult is on tip-top form (as if I expected anything less, she is the queen of fiction). Small Great Things will stay with me way, way longer than any other book I’ve read this year, and I will re-read this book when I get my filthy hands on a hardback copy, come November. This is an astounding, powerful novel, and bravo Jodi for tackling it, she did it amazingly well, and this book will stick with me for a long time. A long, long time.