• Small Great Things
Small Great Things Book Cover Small Great Things
Jodi Picoult
Fiction, contemporary women's
Ballantine Books
October 11, 2016
Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audible, Audible CD

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.

Sometimes the things we need are not the things we want or enjoy.

free copy



Life is full of things that are not pleasant but necessary; immunizations, taxes, cleaning to name a few. We subject ourselves to those things because in the end they bring us a benefit.  So it is with Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.  This is a book that will make you uncomfortable and angry and sad and encouraged and discouraged and … you get the idea.  But considering the state of racial issues in our country today it is a timely story.  We all need to be willing to reexamine our beliefs and perspectives if we have any hope of conditions improving. racial unity Picoult will cause you to contemplate with every turn of the page.

With the great style Picoult is known for, Small Great Things weaves together the stories of Ruth, Kennedy, and Turk as told from their points of view. These characters are rich and real and Jodi’s story telling is enthralling.  Her bias is negligible as she allows her characters to share their experiences and perspectives.  These things together make it a great piece of writing.

So why only 4.5 stars? Something about the ending let me down.  I’m still not able to put my finger on it.  Maybe it was too expected?blood pressure

Also this was really a bad time for me to read this type of book as this is not a book to read when you are under pressure to get a job done.  I was already stressing and this story made my blood pressure go up even more.  I hate racism and the general mistreatment of people so I couldn’t just read it and unwind. I suppose that is good considering Jodi’s intent for writing this story was to provoke a response concerning the issue of race. But, to be honest, I much prefer my books to help me escape reality, even for a few minutes, than to slam me in the face and punch me in the mouth with the cold, hard facts of life.

I do suggest you read Small Great Things. Just make sure it’s the right time and you are in the right mindset. Also, you need time to chew on the issues to be able to get the most out of the book. Be willing to reexamine your thinking and actions regarding race and hopefully we will all be rewarded with a better understanding and acceptance of each other.