Small Great Things

Small Great Things

A Novel

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
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"A woman and her husband admitted to a hospital to have a baby requests that their nurse be reassigned - they are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is black, to touch their baby. The hospital complies, but the baby later goes into cardiac distress when Ruth is on duty. She hesitates before rushing in to perform CPR. When her indecision ends in tragedy, Ruth finds herself on trial, represented by a white public defender who warns against bringing race into a courtroom. As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear"-- Provided by publisher.
"This stunning new novel is Jodi Picoult at her finest--complete with unflinching insights, richly layered characters, and a page-turning plot with a gripping moral dilemma at its heart. Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family--especially her teenage son--as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others--and themselves--might be wrong. With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion--and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game. Praise for Jodi Picoult's Leaving Time "A riveting drama."--Us Weekly "[A] moving tale."--People "A fast-paced, surprise-ending mystery."--USA Today "Poignant. an entertaining story about parental love, friendship, loss."--The Washington Post"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 2016.
ISBN: 9780345813404
Characteristics: text file
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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b
becker
Sep 30, 2017

This book deals with some very relevant social issues of the day and it doesn't beat around the bush. Jodi Picoult is a great storyteller and she can take almost any topic and make an interesting, engaging read out of it. Highly recommended to fans of her work or to anyone who loves to read books about family challenges or community issues.

0
0007548100dmw
Sep 20, 2017

A very good book. Great character development, great research and wonderful story. Can't wait for her next book.

j
jggauthier
Sep 17, 2017

So much rich content in this book that could be discussed by many. The themes presented make you think long after you have book down this page-turner.

I thoroughly enjoy all of Jodi Picoult's novels.

2
21288004423386
Sep 01, 2017

This is the first book by Jodi Picoult's that I have read, I was under the impression that her writing was more along the romantic line. SO I only read this book after a very good friend recommended it. What a book. This is a book about an act of racism, and a woman who has the strength to fight it and the white supremacists she is fighting against. The book is very well written with vivid characters and an excellent story based on a true event. It looks at both sides of racism, how it starts and how it can end. This book has a very realistic ring to it, especially in the light of current events.

CatherineG_1 Aug 01, 2017

Picoult's story of an African American nurse who has to make a life or death decision concerning a white baby whose parents are White Supremacists is thought provoking.
As ehbooklover said, no review could do this book justice. A good book has you thinking about the content long after you read the story. Picoult has woven a story that does just that.
There is so much rich content for discussion that would be ideal for book clubs.

b
blue_heron_59
Jul 24, 2017

In Picoult’s latest novel, she explores the difficult topic of racism. It’s not often that I come across a book about racism written by someone white, but I thought that in this instance, it made the message of the book much stronger, especially to white readers who have never experienced racism firsthand but still feel passionate about racial equality. This books helped give me a new perspective on racism and the role that white people can play in the fight against it. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

m
MelissaYAReader
Jul 12, 2017

In Picoult's latest novel she tackles the issue of race. Ruth, a woman who has spent her life dedicated to being a labor and delivery nurse, is shocked when she is told by her supervisor at the hospital she works for that she is not to attend to the baby of a couple who are white supremacists. While alone in the nursery the baby's heart stops and Ruth jumps into action, but won't admit that she did so to her supervisors when they arrive. Those actions lead to a legal battle which is about more than the death of one child, it is about trying racism and defeating it in our legal system.

This book is full of political issues, and really makes the reader think about how different things are for Ruth and how differently she is treated because of her skin color. Picoult has never shied away from sensitive topics, and this is no exception. She tackles today's issues without flinching from the difficult parts.

m
Mary Jean Rodney
Jun 17, 2017

Excellent story about overt and hidden racism. You may find it uncomfortable and question yourself which are some of the purposes of this book. Great story!

g
ggallardousa
May 04, 2017

Good attempt at writing about racism, but author's cookie cutter writing style is still lacking.

An African_American labor nurse is asked to keep an eye on the infant of a white supremacist from whose care she had earlier been removed. I won't give away plot points here, but the happy ending after the grueling trial felt a little too unlikely and the final plot twist not at all credible.

Kirkus wrote a snarky review of this book but I have recommended it to patrons. It is worth reading to meet Ruth Jefferson and to see how she has worked around racism her whole life, and to gain a glimpse of the world of white supremacists (don't know where Piccoult learned about this!).

The book is based on a real case in which an African American nurse sued her hospital in Flint, MI conceded to a man's request that no black nurses care for his infant (spoiler alert: the hospital lost the suit). Soon to be a major motion picture with Viola Davis.

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Quotes

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c
cknightkc
Apr 26, 2017

“The best lies are the ones that are wrapped around a core of truth.” - p. 113

c
cknightkc
Apr 26, 2017

“The only time people who look like us are making history, it’s a footnote.” - p. 119

c
cknightkc
Apr 26, 2017

“Freedom is the fragile neck of a daffodil, after the longest of winters.” - p. 449

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“Admitting that racism has played a part in our success means admitting that the American dream isn’t quite so accessible to all.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“It’s the difference between dancing along the eggshell crust of acquaintance and diving into the messy center of a relationship. It’s not always perfect; it’s not always pleasant—but because it is rooted in respect, it is unshakable.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“You say you don’t see color…but that’s all you see. You’re so hyperaware of it, and of trying to look like you aren’t prejudiced, you can’t even understand that when you say race doesn’t matter all I hear is you dismissing what I’ve felt, what I’ve lived, what it’s like to be put down because of the color of my skin.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“Equality is treating everyone the same. But equity is taking differences into account, so everyone has a chance to succeed.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“In a lot of ways, having a teenager isn't all that different from having a newborn. You learn to read the reactions, because they're incapable of saying exactly what it is that's causing pain.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“It just goes to show you: every baby is born beautiful.
It's what we project on them that makes them ugly.”

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Summary

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a
abaumler
Sep 06, 2017

This stunning new novel is Jodi Picoult at her finest--complete with unflinching insights, richly layered characters, and a page-turning plot with a gripping moral dilemma at its heart. Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family--especially her teenage son--as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others--and themselves--might be wrong

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