Book summary: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.
My Rating:5/5 stars
Small Great Things is an important book, and maybe one of the most important ones I’ve read all year. With race being such an important issue, this book is so relevant and necessary. I cannot speak for people of color because I’m white and i don’t know if this book is accurate, but I do believe that Picoult tried her best to portray this issue.
Small Things Done is a tough read. I’m in a position of privilege and to read about the daily injustices Ruth must face is very eye-opening. I know that people of color face prejudice but I don’t you’re really able to understand it until it’s placed on a page for you. It’s a tough read because it’s frightening to think that there are people out there who are so overtly racist and to such an extreme. The main reason why this is a tough read is because for so many people this book isn’t shocking;it’s their daily lives.
Picoult alternates between three perspectives: Ruth,Kennedy and Turk. Ruth is an African American nurse put on trial for the murder of Turk’s child. Kennedy is the attorney representing Ruth, and Turk is a white supremacist whose child died.All these perspectives are very necessary and represent three sides to a story. We have the victim, `Ruth, the perpetrator Turk and the well meaning attorney Kennedy. I think for anyone reading this book, the most difficult perspective to be will be Turk’s. His POV is filled with hate and an animosity and it’s scary because it’s real. You read about him beating up his gay father, and you think to yourself no one could be that be mean. But there are so many people out there who are so ignorant and filled with hate. Sometimes we forget that though and Small Great Things is an important reminder.
Picoult comments perfectly on the fact that though we don’t try to be, all white people are racist. Our lives is based on the oppression of others. Though we may not be racist, we succeed because others don’t.And I feel that so few people want to admit that. For Picoult to talk about that is so refreshing.It’s one thing to call a skin-head racist but to call ourselves racist? No one is willing to admit that they though try very hard,they are still profiting from the oppression of others.Throughout the novel we see the attorney Kennedy who is very much like so many white people and would never call herself racist. She says “she doesn’t see color.” and Ruth basically tells her that that’s the whole problem. If we never see color, how are we ever supposed to fix the problem?
Overall I had a few problems with the book and wasn’t that fond of the ending but the immense importance of this book overshadows those minor issue. I am of the firm belief that one of the ways to get ideas across is through books,movies and T.V shows, and I think that Picoult is in the right direction and I hope other books are to come out of this. For change to come, we need to change the way people think and the best way to do so is through words.