Not that I like to judge a book by it’s cover but…I definitely do. I picked this book up for two reasons: 1. I was looking for a book to complete the ‘buy one get one half price’ offer in Waterstones and 2. Because the cover had a silver foil effect and looked lovely. I also read My Sister’s Keeper by Picoult a few years ago and couldn’t put it down. As soon as I read the synopsis of Small Great Things, I knew that this book would be just as gripping. There may be a few spoilers ahead, but I’ll try not to give too much away…
Review Fact File
Title: Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult
Page length: 510 pages (including a bibliography of research for the book)
First line: The miracle happened on West 74th Street, in the home where Mama worked.
Last line: I hold my daughter’s hand, or maybe she holds mine, like we are at an intersection, and it’s my job to take her safely to the other side.
The story is told from many different perspectives. Firstly, a black nurse named Ruth, who is discriminated against by Turk, a racist white man who refuses to let her care for his newborn baby. When the baby dies due to complications and Ruth is at the scene – despite her being told not to go near the baby – she is accused of deliberately harming the baby. As well as Ruth’s perspective, we hear from Turk and her lawyer Kennedy, as the case is taken to court.
I enjoy Picoult’s writing not only because of the style and structure but also her ability to keep you wanting to read more. I easily read 100 pages in one sitting, only getting up to make a tea now and then. You can tell a book is good when you believe that the characters are real. You feel for Ruth being discriminated against and are uncomfortable with Turk’s comments in chapters through his perspective. You also feel for Kennedy, Ruth’s white lawyer, who is in a difficult position throughout the story. She tries to do right by Ruth, but can be misunderstood herself. I found that many of the characters in the novel are misunderstood, which can be frustrating at times to read. I found Turk’s chapters less enjoyable to read at times, but I think that is the nature of the book and the themes within it – it wants you to feel uneasy. As I kept reading on, I wondered what would happen to each character next and ultimately how what happened to Ruth would affect these characters in the future.
Have you read Small Great Things? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!