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.
With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.
This author always covers tough topics with such equanimity and tact. This story is no different, even if it is a topic our country is facing today and will face forever. Racism is a hard subject to talk about let alone write about. There are many places in this novel which are “hard to take”. It hits home in countless areas.
This tale is created with such grace and talent. The way the reader relates to both sides of the issue is an amazing feat. I was torn! Jodi Picoult takes her characters, the good the bad and the ugly, and conceives such a stunning story surrounding each one. The reader develops a rapport with them, whether you like them or not. You sympathize with their situation and there in lies her amazing talent.
This nove is so well researched from the law all the way down to the dansko clogs the nurses wear! (Pharmacists wear those too!)
Worth every bit of turmoil created!