Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Challenge criteria: A book of any genre that addresses current events


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.

Image via Goodreads

What I liked:

This book is very much in the zeitgeist, especially in the US where it’s set. It perfectly dealt with racism, elitism and privilege as they’re experienced in the world today (how many of us have ever said “I don’t see colour”? Be honest.).

As it’s a long read (over 500 pages), there’s plenty of time to get to know each of the characters. Each of them is complex and flawed in their on way, and that makes for some pretty deep reading.

As with every Jodi Picoult book, there was a twist at the end of this story and I genuinely didn’t see it coming at all – although, when I came to it, I thought maybe I should have expected it a little.

What I didn’t like:

I felt the ending was a little far-fetched.

Naturally, some of Turk’s narrative can be a little hard to read. It’s scary to think his character isn’t much of a parody anymore.

Out of five?:

Four. Jodi strikes again, and I was really enthralled by this book.


4 thoughts on “Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

  1. I have never read a Jodi Picoult book, but recently I came across one called Between the Pages(?) and I bought it at my used bookstore. It’s got amazing artwork and it’s supposed to have fantasy. So I’m going to give it a try!
    Have you read that one?

  2. I love Jodi Picoult; her books are always really interesting and they all come at you from loads of great different angles! I haven’t read this one, but this was a great review – I may need to add it to the TBR pile x

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