Contemporary, Fiction

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”



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.


This is my first Picoult book I have read  and this book brought so much tension about racial profiling and discrimination I never really given thought of. Ruth is a person who is always careful in How she talks and acts around certain people . You can say that she is guarded. This is of course a fictional story but there is realism to what people of color go thru.

The charters here are all portrayed as either a racist, victim, and bystander. But this story shows more than what meets the eye. This is a sensitive topic but eventually you will have to speak your mind. It’s interesting for me that Picoult found a way to write the perspective of a Ruth’s struggle given that Ruth is African American and she isn’t. I give this book five stars. It was a moderate pace for me to finish it and an emotional roller coaster as well. Will definitely pick up another Picoult novel.



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