Author: Jodi Picoult
470 pages, published October 2016
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.
Another fantastic book from Jodi Picoult! While it wasn't my favorite of hers (my favorite is Nineteen Minutes) I still found this novel to be an engaging, emotional read that I couldn't put down. My heart ached for Ruth and then entire situation. Picoult wrote a deeply moving novel that is so relevant in today's society.
Though I enjoyed the story, I did not love the format--it switched perspectives from Ruth to Kennedy to Turk. I felt like it was a bit unbalanced. Ruth and Kennedy had many more chapters than Turk, and I found myself wanting to skip Turk's chapters. I disliked him as a character, but found his perspective important to the story and that it wasn't done as well as it could've been. However, it's pretty common for me to NOT like alternating perspective novels, so if that format is one you like you will really enjoy this book. I also felt like this book was way too long and drawn out, despite the fact that it was hard to put down. I feel like the story could've been told in 100 less pages. It drug on a bit in the middle.
Overall, a solid read from Jodi Picoult. A relevant, necessary story for today's society. I recommend reading the author's note at the end once your finish the book.
Rating for "Small Great Things": 4 stars