Sunday, January 8, 2017

Review - Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult



Book Summary  

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.



Published, October 2016 

My Review 4 1/2 stars

Small Great Things is the hardest, most disturbing book I have read.  Race relations is not a topic I read about or discuss and I think this was Jodi Picoults goal, well done, it will be memorable.  I initially was going to give it a 4 but the fact that she will get people talking including myself, I give it 4 1/2 stars.  I have read a few of her books in the past, really enjoyed or not at all, I actually said I was done with her books and then she released this one which made you think about the present, how real this premise is, absolutely timely.

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.  - Benjamin Franklin  Kindle 1%

I really enjoyed how the chapters were done.  Early birth through to afterbirth and the story was told between Ruth, Turk and Kennedy.  There were times I had to walk away from the book, just emotional.  Within the last year I have questioned my reality but I have realized that everyone reacts differently to history and the legacy of family life.  Small Great Things tries to get you understand all the different sides of why we think and react the way we do.

Bad things happen to good people all the time and everyone's response or perception is different.  The heartbreaking part of this book is that the baby still died.  There is nothing that can bring him back. The back stories were amazing and uncomfortable to read. I personally couldn't relate to any characters but could see this happening.  Once I reached 50% the court case started, I felt like I can breathe again.  I have been a juror before and this kind of thing would give me nightmares.

There is no such thing as a fact.  There is only how you saw the act, in a given moment.  How you reported the fact.  How your brain processed that fact.  There is no extrication of the story teller from the story. Kindle 73%

A quote used with the title.

"You're destined to do small great things,"  she told me.  "Just like Dr. King said. "  She was referring to one of her favorite quotes:  If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.....  Kindle 37%

I thought it was a nice touch that the white supremacist had a black lawyer and Ruth had a white lawyer.  We might not realize it but color is noticed in many scenarios.  Both lawyers didn't want to play the race game in court.   "I don't think about being white.  I told you the first time we sat down - I don't see color."  (Ruth) "Not all of us have that privilege."  Kindle 51%

Sure, I know that racism exists and that people like Turk Bauer are waving that banner, but I don't judge all white folks by the historical actions of a few.  Kindle 25%

There was only part  in the book that just didn't ring true to me but it did for a colleague.  It amazes me but history truly repeats itself.  And this is a very scary thought.  If we think of all the terrorists attacks, Trump becoming President, the turmoil in our own countries, race all plays a part which is sad.  How do we become a part of the change?

 I work in an hospital and I can see a Manager requesting for a staff member to not be on a patients case from their request but I don't think it will be formal and in the charts.  So I did believe this could happen.  Also, when difficult decisions need to be made, people are thrown under the bus, integrity is what we strive for but I think it forgotten at times.

There were many surprising moments in this book.  Shocking moments.  Overall this will be a memorable book with great characters.  Even if you try to guess the outcome, there are so many layers you will never guess them all.


Other Jodi Picoult books I have read

My Sisters Keeper - I enjoyed both the book and movie
The Pact -  not my favourite


Personal Note - I have introduced myself as a Bermudian female blogger that loves thrillers.  I have been blogging for almost 8 years and I am 41 years old.  I have never mentioned that I am black.  From the book blogging world I know this does not matter, (I will continue to believe this) What matters is that we all love to read and enjoy the networking.  I have never put up a picture.  Here I am :-)  Other than reading I also love gardening and Yoga.  I am a HR Specialist, a Strala Yoga Guide and Pilates Instructor.  I'm also the mom of a 9 year old girl.




20 comments:

  1. Race relations and prejudices are an issue here but for some reason it's a taboo subject. I'm so glad she's written this book so people might start talking about it. I hope I can get my book club to read this book.

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    1. The last 2 years in Bermuda it has been right in our faces, making everyone speak about it. Very uncomfortable. Political parties, the unions and churches have been fighting. It would be a great book club read but I also think uncomfortable Kathy.

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  2. I haven't read this one but have seen everyone buzzing about it. Does it take place right now? Or in the past? Beautiful pictures! I wish I was more into yoga. Pilates and I don't get along but I love yoga. I just don't do it enough.

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    1. Jenny, it is now which is why it makes it scary and a hard read. I think it will be one of the most read books this year. Thanks for comment on my pictures. Yoga is part of my lifestyle now, it is amazing for my mind, body and soul.

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  3. Marce, I'm so glad you shared your experience with this book. I've got it on my Kindle, but I'll definitely have to be in the right mood to read it. I can see how there would be a lot to talk about and think about. My daughter is a labor/delivery nurse and I'm trying to think about how it would work for a patient to request a nurse not be on a case. I need to talk with her about that. Or get her to read this and see what she thinks.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures! I've known that you were a yoga instructor. Wish I could take a class with you. My goal is to get back to yoga this year. After being sick for a couple of weeks, I'm hoping to start again in a week or so. Yoga really helps my mental state. :-)

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  4. I think it would be great to get your daughter to read and you both discuss. As much as I love thrillers, gory etc this was a difficult read.

    I would love for you to take a class. If I ever do an online class I will share with you :-) Yoga keeps me mentally happy.

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  5. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts of this book as well as sharing your pics with us, Marce! You look great and yoga sounds like lots of fun aside from the health aspect. I wish my body is more flexible. ;)

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    1. It wasn't the easiest one to review Melody. Thanks for commenting about the pictures too. Yoga is so much more than being flexible, you would enjoy feeling the difference as part of your journey :-)

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  6. I am still on the fence about this book. My adult daughter wants to read it so maybe we will do it together. Loved seeing your pictures, and you are right it doesn't matter.

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    1. I understand being on the fence, I made the decision to read sooner than later, I wanted to have my own opinion before hearing about it and reading all the reviews. Thanks for helping my reality in knowing it doesn't matter, I'm glad I shared.

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  7. I haven't read the actual review part yet, as I'm going to be reading Small Great Things next week (will read review after I've read myself), however I did read the last part. I see that you haven't read Nineteen Minutes by Picoult; I recommend that one. Beautiful pictures you've shared, and the snippets of information. I've done yoga on and off, but never solidly, however I am hoping to get back into it this year for a multitude of reasons.

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    1. I look forward to your thoughts on it Jade. Yoga will become part of your lifestyle when you are ready, don't force it, just enjoy the journey and the moments you have on your mat. Nineteen Minutes is on the list to read for sure.

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  8. I'm definitely going to read this one at some point this year. I love seeing your pictures! I wish I could stick with doing yoga regularly. It feels so good. I think I knew my oldest son and your daughter are the same age.

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  9. Thanks Jen, my daughter goes 10 in a couple of weeks, I can't believe it :-) My favourite teacher is not available anymore, I feel like a piece of my heart is missing. Guiding class is almost as good as practicing at times.

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    1. Oh, wow. They are really close in age then. Mine turned 10 yesterday. It really is hard to believe. It happened in a flash...

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  10. Marce, terrific review of a tough read. Brilliant photos!! So happy to see them. XOXO

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    1. Thanks Chris, much appreciated, thanks for commenting.

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  11. I have heard amazing things about this one, and your review only confirmed that I need to read it. Thanks!

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    1. I think you would do really good with debatable stories, I look forward to your thoughts when you get to it.

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  12. Lovely to see you. I found this book interesting from the white guilt perspective. I tend to think of myself as not racist (or sexist, homophobic or any of those things most of us detest), but I could kinda relate to Kennedy's over-reaching and need / desire to 'prove' herself to be accepting etc... if that makes sense.

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