10/11/16

Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

Just like my review of Replica last week, I've been a fan of Jodi Picoult's for YEARS.  Most of her earlier work top my all-time favourites, but some of her later releases have failed to impress.  I had heard that Small Great Things was more exemplary of some of her earlier work, so I went into the book with mixed expectations.

HOLY SMOKES THIS BOOK WAS GOOD.  Despite the fact that I started reading it a week before we moved, I found myself reaching for the book every time I had a spare minute to read.  Even with so much going on personally, I tore through the book in only eight days.

The storyline is heartwrenching.  It follows a black nurse named Ruth, who is asked by a white supremacist couple to have no involvement with their newborn son.  When the baby goes into cardiac arrest, Ruth is the only one in the room and she hesitates because she doesn't know if she should follow orders or save the baby.  After the baby dies (this isn't a spoiler, it's on the back of the book), the remainder of the book follows a court case to determine if Ruth is responsible for the baby's death.

I live in Canada, but have seen the recent racially-provoked deaths in the United States and the resulting Black Lives Matter / All Lives Matter discussions online.  It breaks my heart to see so much hatred in the world, and the resulting violence that stems from this hatred.  Although the level of racism in Canada is more muted, it's still present and I see it in the way that people of Asian and East Indian descent are treated in my community.  Although Small Great Things is written by a white woman, I think that she's done an excellent job of shedding light on this issue, and the voice that she gave to Ruth rang true for me, and even made me question my own thoughts and actions.  As a white woman living a life of privilege, it is easy to make snap judgements about others, even unintentionally, and that's why I believe that books like this one are important in this day and age.  Of course, I'm reading this book from a place of white privilege, and therefore may have a different way of reading than a reader of colour, but I loved this book for the way that it made me think and feel.  I was also overjoyed to fall in love with another of Jodi's books, after recent disappointments with her work.

Add this book to your TBR piles; it will make you think and reflect and, hopefully, be a better person as a result.

Note: I received an ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.  The fact that this was my first ever physical ARC (squeeeeeeee!) did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.

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