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Small Great Things: A Novel
By: Jodi Picoult
List Price: $28.99
Your Price: $16.91
(as of: 01/22/19)
Manufacturer: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 0345544951
Publication Date: 2016-10-11
Release Date 2016-10-11
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours

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Product Description:

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead readers to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, Small Great Things is the stunning new page-turner from Jodi Picoult.


“[Picoult] offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book.”—Booklist (starred review)

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.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

Praise for Small Great Things

Small Great Things is the most important novel Jodi Picoult has ever written. . . . It will challenge her readers . . . [and] expand our cultural conversation about race and prejudice.”The Washington Post

“A novel that puts its finger on the very pulse of the nation that we live in today . . . a fantastic read from beginning to end, as can always be expected from Picoult, this novel maintains a steady, page-turning pace that makes it hard for readers to put down.”San Francisco Book Review

Amazon.com Review:

An Amazon Best Book of October 2016: Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things is about racism, choice, fear, and hope. The novel is based on the true story of a labor and delivery nurse who was prohibited from caring for a newborn because the father requested that no African-American nurses tend to his baby. In the fictional version, Ruth, the African-American nurse in question, finds herself on trial for events related to the same request made by a white supremacist father. Using the narratives of Ruth, the baby’s father, and the female public defender who takes Ruth’s case, Picoult examines multiple facets of racism. The topic of race in America is difficult to talk about, but in in an honest and revealing way Picoult allows readers to draw their own conclusions about how we see ourselves and others in the world. Small Great Things is an important and thought-provoking novel about power and prejudice that deserves to be read, digested, and shared with others. --Seira Wilson, The Amazon Book Review

Kennedy McQuarrie, a public defender in New Haven, CT takes on a case where African American RN, Ruth Jefferson is charged with the murder of a newborn. Ruth, a labor and delivery room nurse for more than twenty years, displays an exemplary record, so this accusation is shocking.

The problem begins after Ruth examines an infant delivered before her shift. It's her duty to perform the required tests, and she notes a heart murmur which she records for the doctor to address.

Parents Turk and Brittany Bauer, are white supremacists and do not want Ruth near their baby. She is removed from the assignment and noticing a post-it note on the chart stating "No African Americans to administer to this patient," she is hurt and angry.

The morning the Bauer's infant is circumcised emergencies abound, and with only three nurses in service Ruth is asked to observe the child for the regulation 90 minutes. She becomes concerned but believes one of her colleagues will return shortly to take over. Ruth witnesses him in distress and tries to revive him. She hears footsteps and swaddles him up, fearing the loss of her job for going against directives. A code called, Ruth is instructed to provide CPR, yet the baby does not survive.

Turk Bauer is infuriated, believing Ruth caused his son's death, and he insists she is held accountable. Ruth's license is revoked and her position suspended. Her years of study and hard work are now on the line. Is this medical malpractice or racism?

Ms. Picoult takes on this controversial subject. Chapters alternate in the voices of Ruth, Kennedy, and Turk. The medical elements of the maternity ward and legal aspects in a criminal case are highly detailed, yet the most impactful characteristic of this insightful tale is the eye-opening glimpse into differing lifestyles.


By: Nancy Lepri, ReaderToReader.com

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