Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Jodi Picoult brings a heart wrenching tale in "Small Great Things"


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?

Whenever I see that Ms Picoult has a book out, my first thought is, "What controversy is she writing about this time?"  I think that this was a perfect topic for her to write about and I feel as if she did it in an eloquent way.

Ruth Jefferson has been a labor and delivery nurse for most of her life. She lost her husband to war and is raising her teenage son on her own. She's also African American. Her mother is a domestic servant for an affluent white family. Her sister embraces her African roots as much as she can and constantly complains about how blacks are treated poorly. Ruth feels like her sister prefers to have something to complain about than is interested in bettering herself.

When Ruth walks into work and goes to a room for an exam on a baby, she doesn't expect for them to be white supremacists who tell her supervisor they do not want her touching their baby. She also doesn't expect to be left alone with him after he had a procedure done and he was in trouble. Her orders were to not touch the baby, but does that include when he was having an emergency?

Little Davis dies and Ruth is arrested for murder. Public Defender Kennedy McQuarrie has never tried a murder case before, but she is so drawn to Ruth that she asks to be able to defend her.  Will separation of race between Ruth and Kennedy keep them from winning their case? Kennedy wants to keep race out of the courtroom when Ruth knows it has to be brought up, because that was why she wasn't allowed to help the baby. 

This book has so many ups and downs and twists and turns. It was simply fantastic and extremely tasteful and well done. The end though. OMG. Ms Picoult's endings always are a shock, this one, though, was extraordinary!

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