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.
Never afraid to confront the moral dilemmas of our times in the most human terms, this new novel is Jodi Picoult at her most thought-provoking, life-affirming best. A powerful look at the judgements we make, the differences between us – and the humanity that binds us together.
Having requested a copy of this book as a Can you #ReadWithoutPrejudice from the publisher, I had absolutely no idea who the book was by or what it was about. This actually excited me as well as making me slightly nervous. Before I actually got round to reading it though, the publisher sent an email out telling us who the author was as well as the title.
Now this normally probably wouldn’t have been an issue, but having a read a couple of the authors previous books and not really enjoying them, I have to admit I had it in my head that she was an author whose books sadly were not for me. It left me torn as to whether to contact the publisher and tell them I couldn’t read it or did I bite the bullet and give it a chance?
Well I’m so pleased to say that I decided to give the book a chance and boy am I glad I did.
Small Great Things is a story that alternates between three characters. Ruth, Turk and Kennedy.
Ruth is a black nurse who has twenty years of experiencing in delivering and looking after babies. After the death of her husband, she has done her best to raise her son single handedly in a better community and give him every opportunity she possibly can. Her job is very important for her and her sons future, that is all at risk when a baby dies who she has been ordered not to touch.
Turk is the father of the dead baby. He really is a tough character to read about. Having to cope with the death of a child is just unimaginable and my heart broke for him and his wife but in the same breathe I really disliked them. I don’t know what shocked me more to be honest, that in todays world people can still be so prejudiced or that a hospital would allow a racist to dictate that someone black was not allowed to touch their child. I was upset and horrified all at the same time. Poor Ruth is just a scape goat for the parents to blame as well as the hospital and it isn’t long before she is arrested and has to face a trial.
Kennedy is a wife and mother and also a public defender. Even though she doesn’t usually take on cases like Ruth’s, I think she feels some sort of connection with this woman and wants to see it through to the end. To a certain extent both women learn something from each other and to be fair I think the reader does also.
Small Great Things is a hard hitting and powerful read that is also very thought provoking. It gives us an insight into peoples mind sets, which at times was quite worrying. It will certainly make people take a long hard look at themselves. A great novel which to me is screaming out to be on the big screen.
My thanks to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.
Small Great Things isn’t out until November but you can pre order a copy at Amazon.