Book Review – Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult…

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.
What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.
I was given an ARC by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review…
I have never read a Jodi Picoult novel before as I have a violent allergy to chick lit. However, the premise of this book looked like it had slightly more back bone than her other dire efforts, so I wanted to give it a try and see it I was being unfair to her writing style or not. I felt, during the course of this book that I was being taught a “social lesson” about white supremacy and racism. If I want to be taught a social lesson about these subjects, I will read non fiction books. I don’t appreciate moral lessons in my fiction at all.
The story gives us the basic history of Ruth, our female protagonist and how she came into nursing.
Right from the off, I’m filled with a bitter dislike for the white supremacists in the story. I am a card carrying tree hugging hippy after all. I have admiration for anyone who tries to alert the world to the wrongness of the far right and their viscous prejudice. I have faced sexism in my job as a nurse but never anything like this. I learned to be a nurse in a predominantly Asian area of the country and was called “white bitch” many times. Racists are idiots no matter what their colour. I warmed to the female protagonist Ruth right away. She is a woman of strength and character. A woman who is fiercely proud and loves her son with all her heart and soul.
A combination of bitter grief and hatred forces Turk Bauer to take the actions he did after his son’s death. I tried hard to compartmentalise my feelings about his politics so that I could proffer sympathy, but I just couldn’t. Maybe that says more about me and my hatred of racism.
As the story moves along, we see the interaction between the characters in the courtroom and those related to the main characters. The story builds as the court case moves along. I find myself hating the coloured prosecutor almost as much as I hate the white supremacist characters involved. She seemed so cold and impersonal. Maybe that’s just a job thing though.
I found myself enjoying this book more than I thought I would, and the ending is a bit of a shocker.
Certainly worth a read
A four out of five star read.
I’m profoundly grateful to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for my copy.

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