Saturday, June 18, 2016

Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult)

Because she's one of my favorite authors, receiving a new Jodi Picoult book is like Christmas, Halloween, and my birthday all wrapped up into one.  I devour each and every one, and Small Great Things was no exception.  This time, Picoult taps into the always-prevalent issue of racism, one that writers seldom do except in the area of historical fiction.  Reading her reasons for delving into the issue, along with how she accomplished her research, is just as interesting as the actual book.

Ruth is a highly respected delivery nurse in a hospital when one day, she finds herself assisting Davis, the newly born son of white supremacists.  They want nothing to do with Ruth and promptly ask her supervisor not to let any African Americans touch their son.  One night, every other nurse is in some type of emergency, and Ruth is the only one available to watch over Davis after a routine procedure.  When he codes, she's left with the choice of whether to follow her orders or help the infant. 

As in every Picoult book, Small Great Things is told with multiple narrators -- Ruth, Turk (Davis's father), and Kennedy (Ruth's lawyer).  The trial is emotional and really makes readers think about how they act with people who are different from them.  While the ending is slightly unrealistic and wrapped up in too neatly of a bow, that doesn't deter from the profound lessons the book teaches.