Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Here lately we hear a different story every week where a person of color has been wrong by the police or another authoritative figure in their community. Jodi Picoult tackles this issue head on. Telling the story of Ruth Jefferson, the only black nurse in the Labor and Delivery Unit at Mercy-West Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. When she is removed from the Bauer case because of the color of her skin, she's upset but continues to to do her job. When something horrible happens to the baby, Ruth has to choose between doing the job she was trained to do and fulfilling the wish of the white supremacist parents. When tragedy strikes, Ruth finds herself in the middle of a murder trial.
This book was amazing. I have been a fan of Jodi Picoult for a long time. Her books have a way of grabbing at your heart strings and make you look at the world from a different perspective. This book was no exception. I literally read this book from cover to cover. Rarely do I read the Author's Notes, but this time I did. I had to know where the inspiration for this book came from and what would make a white woman write a book about such an explosive topic in our society today. As a woman of color I felt a lot of emotions while reading this book.
Ruth Jefferson is a highly educated nurse at Mercy-West Haven Hospital. Despite being the only black woman in her department and one of the few in her neighborhood, she gets along well with her colleagues and neighbors and considers some of them friends, or so she thinks. As Ruth tells her story, I can relate to some of the struggles she faces. I was always taught not to judge people by the color of their skin. With part of my family descending from slaves and another part who owned slaves, my family is quite a mix of cultures. But when Ruth is put on trial or murder, these colleagues and neighbors were no longer her friends, they were now people who saw her as the black woman who killed a white baby.
This is an important book for everyone to read. Told from three points of view; Ruth's the nurse on trial for killing a baby; Turk, the white supremacist father of that baby; and Kennedy, the white, female public defender who is Ruth's attorney. Each character learns about themselves and the people around them over the course of this book.
I commend Jodi Picoult for tackling this difficult subject, especially during this time in our country when the subject is so relevant. As she mentions in her Author's Notes, most white authors write historical fiction about the black community, but this book fits right with today's headlines and some are even mentioned. This book helps to confirm why Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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