Title: Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.
I've read several of Jodi Picoult's novels, all of them hard-hitting, thoughtful, and peppered with flawed, believable characters, and I loved almost all of them. My grandmother bought it when it first came out last year, and ever since, she's been begging me to read it so we can talk about it. (Now that I think about it, I need to call her as soon as I get this written, but moving on!) It caught my eye, sitting on a library display table, and on impulse, I decided to take it home with me. I pushed it to the top of the stack, because I wanted to read it as soon as possible. And I'm so glad that I did, because it really opened my eyes to the broken justice system that we live in, and that I, as a white person, has directly and indirectly benefited from the oppression of minorities, particularly African Americans. (I usually don't bring politics into my reviews, but this is absolutely neccessary!)
Small Great Things is told from the point of view of three different people: Ruth, an African American nurse, her lawyer, Kennedy, and a white supremacist and new father, Turk. Ruth is soon put on trial for murder when Turk's newborn son dies on her watch, despite the fact that Turk requested that Ruth not touch the baby. What ensues is a national legal battle, thick with tension, and all three lives hang delicately in the balance of the verdict. Picoult deftly weaves another medical/legal thriller with relevant social and political questions, and it was really well done. There were a few little things that bothered me, though I didn't count them toward the rating. I didn't like the way circumcision was addressed, because I don't agree with it, and there were times when the medical jargon got a little confusing, though it was all explained later on in the book.
The prose was really engaging, and I really liked the way that the narration went back and forth between each character; I liked how detailed everything was and how I got everyone's point of view; it really made me understand the whole story, and what Jodi Picoult was trying to say about racism in the first place. There isn't going to be any difference made until white people are just as outraged as minorities about inequality. I really feel like my eyes have been opened, and I will be making more of an effort to use my voice for everyone. What a timely, relevant book! The bottom line: Another legal/medical thriller from one of literature's darlings, Small Great Things was absolutely amazing! I can't wait for Jodi Picoult's next venture! Next on deck: Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch!