Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult


From Goodreads 

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.  

My thoughts

My thanks to the Publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. I couldn't believe my eyes when I spotted a Jodi Picoult book on NetGalley available for review and I was even more gobsmacked when my request to read it was accepted.

I really liked the story and gave it a 4.5 star or 9/10. This story hopefully will stand the test of time and become a modern day story to match To Kill a Mockingbird. I can see the two stories being used to compare the way that racism in the 20th & 21st Centuries was handled by literature and society.

At the heart of the story is the topic of racism, prejudice and bigotry that personally I felt was handled extremely well and sympathetically, it is a very thought provoking read and is a perfect read for reading groups as there is so much that can be discussed within the pages.

How would we cope, if our ability to do our job was called into question because of our skin colour and the fact that our skin colour was in any way offensive to others, offending them enough to ask for us to be restricted from doing our job to our full ability.

Ruth, is an African American obstetric nurse with vast experience. Sadly, to some people her skin colour matters more to them than any amount of experience ever can. The parents of a newborn baby, ask that she doesn't take any part in the care of their child. They are white supremacists and as such have a dislike of the colour of her skin.

As the baby takes a turn for the worse while she is alone in the nursery tending other babies, Ruth is left with a dilemma on her hands. Does she ignore their wishes or does she do what any nurse would and offer the life saving care that may be needed?

This is such a powerful read, her actions lead to a legal case ensuing and just like in To Kill a Mockingbird, her legal counsel is a white public defender. As Ruth and her legal counsel have conflicting views as to how the defence case should move forward, they both have tough decisions to make and must learn to trust the judgement of each other.

All I can advise is that you READ this book, regardless of whether you're a fan of Jodi Picoult or not.

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