Small Great Things

Small Great ThingsJodi Picoult has been a best selling author for over twenty years Twenty years ago she wanted to discuss a hot button issue but did not feel like she had the platform to do so About a year ago, Picoult read where a black female nurse in Flint, Michigan had been dismissed by a white supremacist patient over skin color Feeling that the time was right to discuss race, Picoult used this court case as a basis for Small Great Things, her current best selling novel Ruth Jefferson has been a labor and delivery nurse for over twenty years On one snowy Saturday, she is assigned to Davis Bauer, the child of Turk and Brittany Bauer When the parents see Ruth, they go ballistic because they are members of the Aryan movement and do not want someone like her touching their baby Reassigned, Ruth is enraged but does her job, yet by doing her job to the fullest, Davis Bauer dies in her care, or so it seems The parents automatically point to Ruth, her license is revoked, and the drama begins Picoult alternates the novel from the points of view of Ruth, Turk, and Kennedy McQuarrie, Ruth s attorney Employing flashbacks and the present day narrative, Picoult creates rich, multi layered characters who all bring varying perspectives on the rap on race to the table Ruth who has been building up rage her entire life by having to fit into a white society that does not accept her Turk who believes the white superiority movement from a young age and has just as much rage inside him Kennedy a middle class, caucasian lawyer who has enjoyed white privilege for her entire life and has not realized it until taking on Ruth s case Adding to the tapestry of the novel are supporting characters who bring their own views on race to the table, creating a rich story While an enriching story, I did find some parts cliched Additionally, while the story is captivating, the prose is limited and straight forward This makes for a fast reading novel, but one that most likely will not win awards for its literary prowess Yet, Picoult weaves an intricate cast of characters, making it easy for me to like Ruth and just as easy for me to detest Turk and Brittany and their followers As a result, I quickly read through the pages to find the end result to Ruth s case Easy reading women s literature is not a genre I generally subscribe to Many of my goodreads friends had read Small Great Things and I was curious about the story Even through Jodi Picoult has been writing best sellers for over twenty years, she did not have to write about race, just as Kennedy did not have to take on Ruth s case this takes courage Basing her title on a famous quote by Dr Martin Luther King, Picoult does take on this issue that still dominates headlines Despite the cliches and some obvious story lines, I found Small Great Things to be a thought provoking read that had me exploring many sides of the race debate in this country An easy read that I read in a better part of a day, I rate Small Great Things a solid 3.75 stars. 4.5 starsThis is an incredibly heavy read one that s told with brutal honesty and a lot of heart.My initial reaction after I read the final page of the story why would she choose to end things on that noteAfter all of the hate and uncomfortable feelings throughout this story, how could things ever possibly be wrapped up in such a way Never No way I wasn t buying it Then, I read the earnest note from the author following the story and cried my eyes out I felt like Jodi Picoult had crawled inside my head and answered every single burning question I had while reading this book She even managed to give me the explanation I needed to accept the ending Reading her thoughts and inspiration behind the story somehow validated my own feelings and made the story feel that much real.I had no idea what I was in for when I picked this one up We all read for a variety of reasons to escape to a different world, to relax or maybe even to see things from a different perspective Not every story makes me reflect on my own life, my way of thinking or gives me the opportunity to learn something about myself and the way I view the world This is one of those rare times that a story managed to do just that Honestly, my headspace was kind of a wreck, it took me days after finishing to even process my thoughts enough to write this review, but I know in the long run, I m better for itIs it better knowing the ugly truth, and pretending it doesn t exist Or is it better to confront it, even though that knowledge may be a weight you carry around forever I believe it s the way Jodi Picoult tells the story that makes it so powerful She delivers a pretty provocative and harsh scenario a white supremacist, Turk, and his wife, the princess of the white power movement, Brit, have a baby boy that has complications and ultimately dies They re adamant, Ruth, a black nurse is responsible that it s retaliation for having her removed from Davis care After twenty years and a track record of being an exceptional nurse, Ruth finds herself having to prove herself to everyone all because of the color of her skin The story is told from alternating perspectives Ruth, Turk and Ruth s public defender, Kennedy It forces you to examine the situation from every angle, whether you agree or not It s enraging at times, thought provoking, completely riveting and even sort of humbling.There are so many things that come to the surface with this one racism, white privilege, the sad reality that sometimes hate has the power to color someone s entire world and the feeling of not belonging anywhere no matter how hard you work to prove yourself Racism isn t an easy or comfortable topic by any stretch of the imagination and neither is this story So be prepared It s front and center, blatantly obvious and in your face uncomfortable If you re hesitant to give this one a go, Shine is a great way to get a teeny tiny taste of what s in store It s a short story from eight year old Ruth s perspective.Of the three characters, Kennedy was definitely the one I found myself connecting with the most Not because we are both white women, but because of the sense of ignorance we shared on the subject of racism and privilege Like Kennedy, I don t consider myself to be a racist, but I don t think I have ever fully acknowledged privilege and what it means in our society Please don t take my words as some sort of excuse on my part, it s not, it s the honest truth This was an eye opening read for me, so thank you for that, Ms Picoult I only wish, I had read this sooner and secured a ticket to her talk here in AtlantaI ve come to see that ignorance is a privilege, too Just as racism creates disadvantages for people of color that make success harder to achieve, it also gives advantages to white people that make success easier to achieve It s hard to see those advantages, much less own up to them And that, I realized, was why I had to write this book Thank you to Random House Ballantine Books book and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Uhyggelig Aktuel Amerikansk Roman Til Dig, Der Elskede Niceville Og Dr B Ikke En Sangfugl Ruth Jefferson Er En Dygtig Barselssygeplejerske Med Over Tyve Rs Erfaring, Der S Tter En Re I At Give De Nyf Dte Og Deres M Dre Den Bedste Pleje Hvordan Kan Hun Pludselig Befinde Sig I Den Vanvittige Situation At St Anklaget For Mordet P Et Sp Dbarn Kennedy McQuarrie Arbejder Som Forsvarsadvokat For Samfundets Svageste Mange Af Kennedys Klienter Er Sorte, Men For Hende Spiller Hudfarve Ingen Rolle Alle Har Krav P En Retf Rdig Retssag Da Sagen Om Den Sorte Barselssygeplejerske Ruth, Der St R Anklaget For Mord P En Nyf Dt, Som Hun Udtrykkeligt Har F Et Forbud Mod At R Re Af Barnets Racistiske Far, Havner P Kennedys Bord, Ved Hun, At Det Er Den Type Sag, Hun Er Blevet Advokat For At VindeMens Sagen G R Sin Gang, Og Det Langsomt Kommer For Dagen, Hvad Der Virkelig Skete P Det Hospital, Bliver Alle Involverede Parter I Sagen Den Sigtede Sygeplejerske, Den S Rgende Far Og Den H Rdt K Mpende Forsvarer Tvunget Til At Se N Rmere P Den Verden, De Lever I, Og De Sandheder, De Har Troet P Og Levet EfterDet Store I Det Sm Er En Roman Om Fordomme Og Magt Om Det, Der Skiller Os, Og Det, Der Forener Os En St Rk Fort Lling, Der Vil Forandre Dit Liv Og Bne Dine Jne My reviews can also be seen at could probably write a twelve page review on everything I want to talk about from this book, everything I learned from this book However, my reviews are long as it is so I will try my best to keep it short wellshorter than twelve pages.I have read every book by Jodi Picoult and they all make me think As I ve said before I always learn something too But I feel like this book is the one that hit me hardest I learned so much and from the moment I started reading it, it has been on my mind.Ruth Jefferson is the widowed mother of one teenage son, Edison Her husband died during his second tour of duty in Afghanistan She is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital A highly skilled nurse with than twenty years experience.While doing a regular check up on a newborn baby, Ruth notices the mother and father glaring at her She also notices a tattoo on the father s arm It s a tattoo of a Confederate flag Only a few minutes later, Ruth is told by her supervisor that she s been reassigned and she s not to touch the Bauer baby She finds out that the parents are white supremacists and they don t want, Ruth, who is African American, anywhere near their baby.The next day at the hospital Ruth happens to be alone in the hospital nursery when the Bauer baby goes into cardiac distress Ruth has not idea what to do Does she obey the orders she s been given Or should she intervene to help the baby who s clearly in need of help The story is told from three points of view The nurse Ruth , the public defender Kennedy , and the white supremacist father Turk.What Ruth does and doesn t do ends up with her being brought up on serious charges Kennedy McQuarrie is the white public defender that takes her case But Ruth doesn t know if she can trust her Can Kennedy possibly ever understand what life is like for Ruth They will need to work together Can Ruth let go of some of the control she s held tightly to all of her life but still say what she really feels Will Kennedy be able to face the things she learns not only about others but also about herself As the trial also plays out in the media it starts to affect Ruth s son Edison struggles with comments made to him in regards to the color of his skin Some of these comments hurt even because they are coming from life long friends Ruth s son is an honours student that has always stayed out of trouble But will what s happening with his mother derail all of his plans When I read the first sentence from Turk s point of view, I instantly hated him I thought there was no way I would find anything redeeming in this character We read a lot about Turk s upbringing How he got involved with The Movement and the horrible things he had done We also learn how him and his wife, Brittany met and the life they lived.This book took me about a week to read Not because I didn t have time but because I just found it very hard to read at times The time spent reading Turk s point of view were anxiety inducing I just couldn t understand such an extreme hatred It made me angry, sad, and uncomfortable But maybe that s a good thing A quote from the author s note I wrote it because I believed it was the right thing to do, and because the things that make us most uncomfortable are the things that teach us what we all need to know I had many conversations with my daughter, mother and friends about racism and racism awareness while reading this book So many things I didn t even realize that still go on Not all white supremacists walk around with shaved heads and tattoos letting us know what they stand for Now they have the internet to network and have learned to hide in plain sight and that is beyond terrifying.I thought this book was very well written It was easy to follow the alternating points of view and the characters were so well developed As usual I can tell how much research went into this book Jodi Picoult never ceases to amaze me with how she can both entertain and teach me with her books.There s so much I want to say but I will stop here Although Small Great Things is tough to read at times, I think it s an important read and I highly recommend it.Thank you to Ballantine Books, and Jodi Picoult for the advanced copy of this novel that I received in exchange for my honest review. Oh dear, sigh sigh I m sad I didn t like this book I so wanted to Lots of friends love Picoult, so I feel sort of like an alien, one standing at alert, with her handy but annoying Complaint Board right here front and center.The story line drew me right in A black labor and delivery nurse is accused by a white supremacist of murdering his newborn, and a very sympathetic and determined lawyer defends her All three Ruth the nurse, Turk the supremacist, and Kennedy the lawyer have their own chapters, all told in first person.The big Number One on my Complaint Board is that this is a message book, and I don t really like message books I realize I read fiction to escape from reality There s too much chaos and horror in real life, I need a break I do love it if a book makes me ponder human nature, but I don t like lectures If I want to think about social issues, I read nonfiction, watch a documentary, talk to friends The author has set out to teach us a thing or two Did I say I wanted to go to class Did I say I wanted a sermon Despite my protests, the book did spark two interesting discussions on racism The author talks through her characters, of course about there being two kinds of racism active and passive I had never thought of racism in those terms, and it really made me think.And even though I don t like message stories, I do appreciate that Picoult is an amazing crusader There s an author s note at the end which is completely endearing This woman really wants things to change She s diligent and persistent relentless, in fact She s also kind and empathetic And she researched the hell out of the subject before writing this book, including interviewing blacks and even white supremacists It was hard to remember sometimes that Picoult is white she seems to understand the plight of blacks so well Or at least it seems like she does I d like to know if it all rings true for blacks My guess is that she had black friends read this to make sure she was doing it right If I liked message books, this one would be at the top of my list.Okay, the Complaint Board calleth, with things that bugged me Several critical events were unbelievable Nurse Ruth said something that seemed totally out of character The hospital did something I doubt they would do Ruth s behavior at one point in the trial seemed off The lawyer s reaction to it seemed off view spoiler I don t buy that Ruth would ever say, even jokingly, that the baby should be sterilized I don t buy that the hospital would actually put a note on the baby s chart saying that no blacks could go near it I don t buy that Ruth got so mad at Kennedy during the trial when Kennedy was doing everything possible to help her I didn t buy that Kennedy ended up understanding Ruth s anger I didn t buy that Ruth would insist on going on the stand when it clearly would hurt her, and her lawyer had advised against it so strongly hide spoiler THIS REVIEW IS SAFE TO READ NO SPOILERS There is nothing in this review which isn t already suggested in the blurb I begin with an excerpt Suddenly Roarke Matthews is standing in front of me His suit is ironed with knife edge pleats, his shoes are buffed to a high gloss He looks like a soapopera star, except his nose is a off kilter, like he broke it playing football in high school He holds out a hand to greet me Mr Bauer, he says, why don t you come with me He leads me into an even imposing office, this one full of black leather and chrome, and gestures to a spot on the love seat Let me say again how sorry I am for your loss, Matthews says, like everyone else does these days The words have gotten so ordinary in fact that they feel like rain I hardly even notice them any On the phone, we talk about the possibility of filing a civil suit Whatever it s called , I interrupt I just want someone to pay for this Ah, Matthews says And that is why I have asked you to come in here You see, it s quite complicated What s so complicated You sue the nurse She s the one who did this Matthews hesitates You could sue Ruth Jefferson, he agrees But let s be realistic she doesn t have a pot to piss in As you know, there s a criminal prosecution underway that the state has undertaken That means if you file a civil suit simultaneously, Ms Jefferson would ask for a stay of all discovery, so she couldn t incriminate herself during the pending criminal prosecution And the fact that you filed a civil suit against her can be used against you in a cross examination during the criminal lawsuit I don t understand The question is..will you understand what hit YOU , once you ve finished this brilliant novel IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT however, I couldn t wait for a book discussion on this one released in stores early Oct SURE TO BE A NUMBER 1 BEST SELLER So, I involved Paul, my husband bedtime entertainment We had some lengthy conversations Paul s words A no win situation from the start Jodi Picoult explores areas of race discrimination, race prejudice, race snobbery, anti semitism, and injustice from every corner of the earth s hemisphere.Jodi blew my mind over a Kosher candy bar REALLY Who thinks like this Geeezzzzz Jodi continued to blow my mind several times before reaching the final end.until I m thinking, I think like this This book is long enough that in time something is bound to hook, rather triggerevery reader, on their own difficult journey to question their own morally and racial prejudice In other wordsdon t be so sure YOU are so pure.Exquisitely written..filled with grief gets under your skin and leaves you changed Thank You Random House, Netgalley, and Jodi Picoult This is a powerful book, bold in some ways , as we have a white author bringing to us a story depicting what racism looks like and trying to tell those of us who are not black, what it feels like But anyone who has read any of Jodi Picoult s books knows that she doesn t shy away from difficult to discuss topics I don t think very often about white supremacists Maybe because there hasn t been much about them in the news on a regular basis until recently or maybe because it s so uncomfortable to admit that there are people of this way of thinking around us that it s easier to not think about it Lately though there has been some news attention to white supremacy as it s ugly face comes out, but the ugly face of racism is front and center in the every day life of Ruth Jefferson in this novel not just with the white supremacists portrayed here This is what makes Picoult s new novel so relevant An African American labor and delivery nurse, Ruth Jefferson is on trial for the murder of a newborn baby she tries to save after she was told she could not care for the baby at the request of the white supremacist parents I couldn t help but like Ruth , a hard working widow who works hard at a job she loves to make a good life for her son Ruth s narrative alternates with Turk, the baby s father It was definitely uncomfortable reading what Turk has to say about black people but that s the point showing it to us , jarring us into seeing it A third narrative is provided by Ruth s public defender, attorney, Kennedy, who has lived a charmed life and who thinks she s up to the job and not racist She may very well not be racist but she definitely doesn t know what Ruth is feeling Racism is prevalent in other ways than the blatant views of Turk, in the hospital lawyer, from the police , from friends of Ruth s son, a patient thinking the white student nurse was in charge and not Ruth and worst of all for Ruth from people she thought of as good friends The ending, the twist are a little too pat Having said that, Picoult has done an admirable job of raising an issue that so needs to be discussed A compelling story that needs to be read Thanks to Random House Publishing Group Ballantine and NetGalley. AVAILABLE NOW Look up at the dark sky See those stars They all belong to Small Great Things.The Small Great Things at the end is not the same Small Great Things it is at the beginning, meaning that so much is happening, so much is revealed that there s no way to read the first chapter and predict the rest of the story.Small Great Things has come a long way So has Kennedy So has Turk So has Ruth So has Edison So has the world.That s how it should be Doesn t mean though, that we re at the finish line yet Small Great Things definitely proves that we aren t.Jodi Picoult s new book didn t make me realize how na ve I was Michelle Alexander did with her talk on mass incarceration in the US But while my eyes were wide due to Alexander s revelatory comments on today s caste system, this book opened them even wider thanks to Ruth s honesty, Kennedy s character development and Turk s sole existence.There are some scenes in this book that seem too good to be true, especially the ones related to Adele and the judge at the end, but it doesn t make the subject of racism less authentically dealt with.Of course, this book made me angry and that s good This means what happened to Ruth affected me It s unjust It s unfair It s inhumane But what s surprising is, though I completely hated Turk for suing Ruth, I still questioned whether Ruth was right to hesitate, and whether Turk was redeemable, and whether someone else beside Ruth should have been blamed.We should question situations It s not because something seems completely wrong to us that we shouldn t dig deeper on the subject consider someone else s opinion on the matter, which is why I m so happy with the fact that this book is narrated by Ruth, Kennedy AND Turk.A truly impressive story with great attention to detail and incredibly intense scenes at court.Blog Youtube Twitter Instagram Google Bloglovin I have tried to write this review several times I guess I have a lot of thoughts about this novel.My first thought is that Jodi Picoult did not write this for me I don t know what the demographic is for Ms Picoult s novels but being a book person for a long time and having been to a couple of her book readings, I think I can make a pretty accurate guess at the demographic that buys her novels So this is a novel that was written for white women and it doesn t stray far from Ms Picoult s other novels So it will most likely do very well in terms of how much it s read.Even as I m writing this I can feel the huge BUT that comes after all of that My but is that this is really Ruth s story Ruth is the African American nurse who is accused of harming the infant of a white supremacist couple We see things from Ruth s perspective, the husband s perspective, and Ruth s lawyer s perspective By showing all of the perspectives, we get the whole well rounded story, right Not reallybecause this is Ruth s story or it should have been As I was reading, I couldn t help but ask myself, how many other novels written by people of color about people of color could have been published The answer is a lot but how many of them would have been read by Jodi Picoult s readers I have no idea Yes I do I don t begrudge Ms Picoult writing Small Great Things I don t believe that white authors shouldn t write from the perspective of people of color My issue and I guess it is an issue because it s been nagging at me since I finished this book is the execution of it Ms Picoult wrote a how to not be racist novel for white people Every single cliche and trope that has ever happened to a person of color is in this novel The hyenas in The Lion King They get a mention The lawyer tells Ruth she doesn t see color Yes, that happens Here is where I say that I don t speak for all Black people Okay I connected with Ruth very much I did the same things she did I did well in school, I didn t flaunt my color, I believed that if I just acted the same as everyone else around me, I d be treated the same And that s just not the case I ve been at work where I was one of a few people of color and had someone say something inappropriate Sometimes I used it as a teaching moment, often than not, I rolled my eyes and moved on I ve wondered about encounters with salespeople Are they having a bad day or do they just not want to be helping me buy this Why are they so friendly to the pretty blonde lady behind me I didn t want Ruth to have to be a teaching moment I wanted Ruth to be able to have her story without the function being to teach white people something I believe that if this was written by a person of color, this would have been Ruth s story.I gave Small Great Things 4 starsit s like 3.5 but I do enjoy a Jodi Picoult novel every once in awhile 10 9 16 I m updating to include an exchange I had with Jodi Picoult over Twitter during the debate tonight A black gentleman from the audience asked a question that literally had nothing to do with race but Trump made it about race talking about how he would improve the inner cities for the black people living in hell there Here was Ms Picoult s response.This is the kind of thing that she would include in her book as an example of a well meaning white person making a point to Donald Trump Are the Obamas the only black people she knows Obviously, Trump is not talking about wealthy famous people like the President and Mrs Obama He is talking about me and my family It s a little thing which is why it s called a microaggression but the Obamas aren t all black people and the inner city isn t hell And Jodi Picoult knows better Or she should after writing this book.Update 10 10 16 I don t usually change my stars when I review a book The I talk about this book with people, the I realize that I am giving it the benefit of the doubt and it doesn t deserve that from me It s a solid 2 stars The way Ms Picoult chose to tell this story rubs me the wrong way If other people get something out of it, that s great And I ll admit to being a little petty about her Obama text last night That cost her half a star. I have so much to say about how terrible this book is I hated it I hated it so much idk how I even finshed it I don t think I ve ever rolled my eyes this much while reading a book.I am a black female medical student The whole premise of this book is completely wrong There is no way any medical professional was allowing a supervisor s rule prevent them from saving a patient in an emergency We swear to do no harm and to act in the benefit of the patient This would never happen, and if it did, then of course the nurse would be guilty of negligent homicide Ruth is guilty, idgaf what the patient s family said, you save that baby She has a moral and legal obligation to save that baby But the point is, that would never happen.Jodi Picoult is not black Yet she writes in the point of view of a black woman and her life struggles She does not know our struggle There are so many little inaccuracies throughout the book that prove that she was not in the position to tell this story For example, Ruth got bullied for her light skin Are you fucking kidding me Yes there is a division between light skin and dark skin, but dark skin is always always always on the losing side So that pissed me off Also, Ruth was the only black nurse in the department Highly unlikely Walk into any hospital esp on the east coast there are numerous black nurses Idk if that was for dramatic effect but no There was this part where Kennedy was like she told me about weaves and extensions, I told her about sunburns Black people get sunburns, we know how it works like wtf.I can t even begin to talk about this damn trial Picoult really tried, she did But again, Ruth is the stubborn angry black woman who doesnt listen to counsel and explodes in court Ughhh everything about this book made me so mad I hated the little anecdotes and metaphors, hated all of the characters except maybe Violet and Edison Also the ending was completely ridiculous But hey it made me laugh that Britt was half black The scariest thing about this is the prevalence of white supremacists I mean Donald Trump is our president we have so much to fear.Maybe I m nitpicking but all these little things add up and I got so angry while reading this because of how ridiculous it is If anything, I hope this story inspired white people to pause and acknowledge their implicit bias.I would suggest greys anatomy for a realistic take on a similar topic The episode when a white male supremacist enters the emergency room and he has a nazi tattoo and refuses to be seen by non white physicians, but bailey saves his life anyway because she understands non judgmental regard.

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty four novels, including the 1 New York Times bestsellers Small Great Things, Leaving Time, The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister s Keeper She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.Her new novel, A SPARK OF LIGHT, is available in hardcove

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  • 10 November 2019

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