Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult Book Review

Small Great Things Jodi Picoult


As an African-American woman I was truly stunned to recognize so many aspects of my own life in Ruth. I never have I had my own experiences articulated so effectively by someone who isn’t a person of color. I finished it late, late last night and was rattled all morning by the insights and depth of honesty revealed here. Given the state of race relations in our country, the story is more haunting. Just unpleasant truths that reveal the decades-long apathy with history and with the truth of how things really are in this country. Racism is not an easily broached subject for any author, regardless of their skin color. However, Small Great Things tackles the subject of racism using the only tool that can possibly reroute the racial wires of the human mind, empathy.


The story is about a nurse, no ordinary nurse, but one who is dedicated and well regarded, with a twenty-year career at the hospital where ‘the incident’ occurs. And who is also a single mom. A husband and wife have just had their first baby. When the nurse comes into their room, to take over the shift of another labor and delivery nurse, upon seeing her, the parents, who are white supremacists, see that she is black and immediately request to see her supervisor, whom they tell, in no uncertain terms, that this woman is not to touch their baby. What unfolds next is a devastating. Both of their lives take a turn neither could have predicted. The story is told from both sides. Heartbreak from the nurse’s and mistrust of everyone she encounters. She has noticed this before or rather, has worked hard to rise above it, but now it is all surfacing and cannot be ignored. The extremely racist man is angered to the point of revenge and his wife is shattered and taken to bed and depression. There is no unlikable character in this book.


​ This book makes you think, step outside of yourself, take another’s perspective, and re-think your beliefs, and step outside of the box. So well written and researched. I felt like I was in every single described event in every chapter. And the more I read, the deeper I dug into my own long held beliefs, experiences, and upbringing on race and people differences in general. It is particularly important that we discuss racism openly and freely in hopes that someday we will be defined as just as a human being.


I recommend this book and give it 5 stars.

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