Small Great Things

Small Great Things

A Novel

Book - 2016
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"A young woman and her husband, admitted to hospital to have a baby, request that their nurse be reassigned--they are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is black, to touch their baby. The hospital complies, but the baby later goes into cardiac distress when Ruth is on duty. She hesitates before rushing in to perform CPR. When her indecision ends in tragedy, Ruth finds herself on trial, represented by a white public defender who warns against bringing race into the courtroom. As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear."--
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, ©2016.
ISBN: 9780345813381
9780345544957
Characteristics: 470 pages ;,25 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

Checked out 56 times

"A black neonatal nurse is charged with causing the death of a white supremacist’s newborn baby. The story is told from the points of view of the nurse, her attorney, and the baby’s heartbroken father. As always, Picoult’s attention to legal, organizational, and medical details help the tale... Read More »


From the critics


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s
spudwil
Jun 20, 2019

Great book to discuss. I couldn't put it down. It gave me lots of food for thought. Highly recommended.

a
astrotea
Apr 28, 2019

Gripping story from start to finish. Very informative and well-researched perspective on racism and white priviledge. Scarily accurate depiction of white supremacists, they made me so mad the whole time lol

m
MillieBT
Feb 22, 2019

An excellent book about race relation...Ruth who has been a nurse for 20 years is accused of murder by Turk, a white supremacist....Kennedy, Ruth's attorney is forced to realize and understand her own privilege in America...….great character development and plot

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Feb 19, 2019

An interesting look at white supremacy and white privilege...makes some important points.

d
drfoster
Jan 29, 2019

READ ONE OF HER NOVELS - GOOD NOT GREAT - BEA'S DAUGHTER LIKES HER - LOTS OF NOVELS

s
slen
Jan 04, 2019

Very good book about racism. Surprising twists like other Jodi Picoult books. A black neonatal nurse is accused of killing the newborn of a white supremacist couple.

While I think you are either a Jodi Picoult fan or you definitely aren’t, I still recommend her latest novel. What draws me to all of her books is the character development and honesty she can relay to make the reader feel like they know the true thoughts and intentions of all the characters. This novel deals with race issues. And, I know, there’s a lot out there right now, but I guarantee you, you haven’t read one like this. A competent labour and delivery nurse faces racial prejudices when an extremist couple refuses to allow her to care for their child; nurse gets put in a situation that she is the only medical staff available when the couple’s child is dying. Queue an unlawful firing and a court case, but the details and reactions are far from cookie cutter plots! This book challenged my own thoughts about race, and I thought I knew where I stood! (Submitted by Marnie)

t
tats76
Oct 18, 2018

I thought this was really well done, eye opening, relevant, and thought provoking. The plot does take on racism, both active and passive, and the story was very engrossing.

e
Einer2
Sep 18, 2018

This is a well written story that should be read by all, especially those of us who think we have no racial prejudices!

m
milburnmom
Aug 09, 2018

Read but want to read again.

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Quotes

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c
cknightkc
Apr 26, 2017

“The best lies are the ones that are wrapped around a core of truth.” - p. 113

c
cknightkc
Apr 26, 2017

“The only time people who look like us are making history, it’s a footnote.” - p. 119

c
cknightkc
Apr 26, 2017

“Freedom is the fragile neck of a daffodil, after the longest of winters.” - p. 449

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“Admitting that racism has played a part in our success means admitting that the American dream isn’t quite so accessible to all.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“It’s the difference between dancing along the eggshell crust of acquaintance and diving into the messy center of a relationship. It’s not always perfect; it’s not always pleasant—but because it is rooted in respect, it is unshakable.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“You say you don’t see color…but that’s all you see. You’re so hyperaware of it, and of trying to look like you aren’t prejudiced, you can’t even understand that when you say race doesn’t matter all I hear is you dismissing what I’ve felt, what I’ve lived, what it’s like to be put down because of the color of my skin.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“Equality is treating everyone the same. But equity is taking differences into account, so everyone has a chance to succeed.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“In a lot of ways, having a teenager isn't all that different from having a newborn. You learn to read the reactions, because they're incapable of saying exactly what it is that's causing pain.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“It just goes to show you: every baby is born beautiful.
It's what we project on them that makes them ugly.”

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p
pink_flamingo_961
Aug 17, 2018

pink_flamingo_961 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Summary

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a
abaumler
Sep 06, 2017

This stunning new novel is Jodi Picoult at her finest--complete with unflinching insights, richly layered characters, and a page-turning plot with a gripping moral dilemma at its heart. 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

Notices

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a
AliciaMochi
Jan 06, 2018

Coarse Language: This book does use common swear words as well as the n-word

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