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Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Title: Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult
Year Published: 2016

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 500
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)USA (CT)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the back of the book): When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father. What the nurse, her lawyer, and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not. Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.

Review: I planned on reading a different book while on vacation in the UK, but I finished one book up in Scotland and hadn't brought up my second book with me so I bought this one to tide me over. My niece was with me and told me she loved this one. I was hooked from page 1.

What an intense, important, and well written story. The three main characters (an African-American female nurse, a while female public defender, and a white power male) are all so rich, well-filled out, and believable. The story is heartbreaking, devastating, and raw. In other words, it all works.

While the story is really good, the message is even better: racism is an issue; it's related to who has the power; and we all have it in us, not matter what we say out loud. We all know the overt racism espoused by by white supremists, but using Ruth, Picoult shows the every day undercurrents of racism. Ruth is followed by security in stores, asked to see her receipt when white shoppers aren't, etc. As a white person, I don't experience that, but when I was married to an Arab man (who looks Indian, Pakistani, or black) I witnessed it first hand. My ex-husband was followed into bathrooms in airports, pulled aside for extra passport checks (and I was told I couldn't wait with him), and more. And yet, I am sure that I respond to people of color in ways that I don't even realize. I watch people do it to my multi-racial daughter. Not all the time. But sometimes.

Jodi Picoult has written a must-read book.

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