Have you ever read a book that is so filled with emotion, ending on such a note that you need time to fully digest? That's Small Great Things. All of the hate, anger, frustration, turmoil, love, hope, redemption, and pride in accomplishing dreams amidst adversity are apparent in this socially and politically relevant novel. Jodi Picoult has a phenomenal talent for charging her stories with making the reader think and feel for the characters as if they are people you know.
Ruth Jefferson has over 20 years of experience as a labor and delivery nurse at local Connecticut hospital. As a single mother, whose husband was killed while serving in Afghanistan, she's worked diligently to provide for her teenage son and tries to teach him the ways of being a black man in a white world. But her world is turned upside down when she's told not to treat a newborn of a white supremacist couple. When the baby goes into cardiac arrest while she's the only staff member in the nursery, she's caught between trying to save his life and obeying orders from her boss. The outcome of her decision sets the stage for the rest of the novel.
The hospital was caught between protecting their senior L&D nurse, and protecting the hospital from a lawsuit. In what the administration thought was the hospital's best interest, they also sent a message to Ruth and all other black members of their staff they were in deed, second class citizens regardless of their loyalty. No one is safe.
In turn, despite the twists and turns of the story (based on true events), the epilogue has a bittersweet message - an ending that I had hoped would happen.
Jodi Picoult writes another novel that is to be made into a movie, which I will see in the theaters someday. The release date is TBD, especially since they have yet to decide on a screenwriter and a full cast. Other books of hers that have been made into films are Salem Falls, My Sister's Keeper, The Tenth Circle, Plain Truth, and The Pact.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Hardcover, 470 Pages - also listened to an audio version simultaneously
Published October 2016 by Ballantine Books
Dates read: June 19-July 30, 2017