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Small Great Things

Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I like books that make you think and this was one of those books. This book deal with racism at all levels. I went through a wide range of feelings while reading this book. The story at the heart of the book seemed like it could have been pulled from current headlines. This was a story that I couldn't get out of my head and when I wasn't reading the book, I was thinking about it. I wasn't sure if this was a book that I would want to read when I first saw it but decided to give it a chance anyway and am very glad that I did.

This story is told from 3 points of view. Ruth, a labor and delivery nurse, is at the center of the story. She has been working as a nurse for the past 20 years and likes her job. Her other main focus is on her teenage son, who is an honor student and an all around good kid. When Ruth is assigned to work with the Bauer family, things take a turn and she is pulled from the case. The problem is not with her actions but the color of her skin. She is told not to care for the baby and when she is left alone with him and he has an emergency things go wrong. As a result, Ruth finds herself in the middle of a nightmare, charged with a crime and unable to work.

Turk is a white supremacist. His character made me angry and the parts of the book that were from his parts where hard to read. He is also a grieving father who wants to find some reason for his son's death. The blame is firmly placed on Ruth as the only African American nurse on duty and the individual who was there when the baby died. His hatred of anyone different that himself was extreme and often violent.

Kennedy was the lawyer assigned to work Ruth's case. Ruth's case is the first big case that she has worked and she really does work hard on it. She learns a lot about how racism can slip in to our daily lives without most of us realizing it. She knows that racism shouldn't be brought into the trial because that is just not how cases are worked. But it is a part of this case.

I thought that all three points of view brought a lot to the story. Sometimes they made me sad and other times they made me angry. Through Ruth, Kennedy, and Turk we learn about a lot of other people. Ruth's son goes through a lot as a result of the trial and must deal with issues from racism in his life. Ruth's mother and sister also play an important role in the story. Turk's wife and father-in-law were a large part of the story. Their belief system and history was difficult to think about but it helped illustrate their extreme thoughts. There were a few twists in the story that surprised me and I thought were well executed.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought this was a thought provoking page turner that I think many readers will enjoy. I applaud Jodi Picoult taking on such a relevant topic in this book.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine via First to Read.

Initial Thoughts
This book gave me something to think about.