A friend of mine recently read “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult and posted a little picture on Facebook, saying that she couldn’t put this book down. I replied to her and said that I must read it! Within the week, she gave me this book to read! Thank you lovely friend!!
The title of this book doesn’t tell you much. “Small Great Things” is about an experienced labour and delivery nurse, Ruth Jefferson, who has a teenage son and also happens to be African American. As she performed her usual tasks, one patient’s husband asked that she be removed from caring for his son. He and his wife were white supremacists and they did not want Ruth having any interaction with their baby. As you can imagine, Ruth is confused and hurt by her superior nurse granting this request. Ruth was ordered not to touch baby Davis.
One night, after a long shift, Ruth was the only nurse available to observe baby Davis after a routine circumcision procedure. This did not require any interaction from her, until she noticed that the baby had stopped breathing. What Ruth does or does not do next is where the problems start.
Sadly, baby Davis dies and Ruth is blamed for his death, her nursing licence suspended and charged with murder. She needs a lawyer! Kennedy McQuarry is the white public defender assigned to Ruth’s case. Kennedy is not experienced in taking such serious charges all the way in court, but feels drawn to Ruth and asks to represent her.
Ruth and Kennedy struggle to see eye-to-eye on many things but as time moves on, they strike up an unusual and unlikely friendship. Eventually, the two women begin to reevaluate their own beliefs as they come to understand one another and their life situations.
Ruth’s son Edison, and her sister Adisa, are also strong characters who influence Ruth and are her reason for fighting so hard.
Jodi Picoult writes about a subject she does not live herself and I think she does a great job. I found “Small Great Things” to be extremely thought provoking and gave me a glimpse of how different life would be if my skin were a different colour.
Yes, this book has a plot twist at the end! This caught me by surprise. The plot twist made me think about how we treat one another – especially those closest to us and how things often don’t turn out the way we expect them to. I like the plot twist at the end of this book. You won’t see it coming.
Grab this book and read it. I really enjoyed it and the themes behind the story will stick with me for a long time. This book has given me a lot to think about.