Thursday, July 21, 2016

Small Great Things: a story about modern racism and prejudice

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult is dramatic and thought provoking story about racism and how we interact with each other as members of different races. The story is told from the perspectives of a dedicated labor and delivery nurse, a White Supremacist man, and a lawyer who tries to defend her client. The story opens with Ruth, who decided to become a labor and deliver nurse after watching her mother deliver her employer’s son after she went in to labor. She is raising her son, Edison, 17, after her husband was killed in Afghanistan. Ruth comes on her shift as just another day and she is assigned to a new mother, Brittany Bauer and her new son. As she goes about her job, checking the baby, talking with the parents, she doesn’t notice that the father, Turk, is getting really tense. Soon, he has had a enough and demands to talk with Ruth’s supervisor. Turk Bauer was Ruth removed from the care of his wife and son. Why? Ruth is black. Ruth is reassigned and never sees baby Bauer again. Until one fate day when she is left alone in the nursery with the baby while another nurse sees to an emergency. Ruth notices something is wrong with baby Bauer but she hesitates. She isn’t supposed to touch this baby. After a code is called and a team works on the baby, the baby is pronounced dead. Her decision wither or not help the baby will lead to the fight for her freedom and her life. Enter Kennedy, a lawyer with the public defender’s office, who decides to take Ruth’s case. Can Kennedy disprove that Ruth’s inaction or actions caused the death of the baby? Will Ruth ever get her life back and the job she loves?

I have been a fan of Jodi Picoult’s books since I was introduced to The Storyteller. All her books cover issues and events which have no clear cut solution or resolution. And Small Great Things is no different. I was offered a pre-release copy of this book, I jumped at the chance. I chose this story in particular because it is a black nurse up against the hatred of a white supremacist. As I read this story, I was reminded of the nurse who took care of me when I had my four year old daughter. Yes, she was black and she was the sweetest person in the world. She sat and talked with me as we waited. She encouraged me as I was in active labor and she brought my new miracle in my arms. My only regret is that I do not remember her name but her kindness to me is engraved in my memory. As I read, I burned with anger at the actions and words of the white supremacist. In true Jodi Picoult fashion, Small Great Things will challenge your own thoughts on prejudice and racism and may even make you face your own that you may not even know that you had. I highly, highly recommend Small Great Things.

Small Great Things
will be available on
October 11, 2016
in hardback $28.99

Kindle/Nook $14.99