REVIEW: Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult


Confession time: I haven’t read a Jodi Picoult book since My Sister’s Keeper.

Not for any reason other than I found Jodi Picoult’s novels too similar to one another and I thought after reading so many stories of medical issues with complex family decisions that I was done with her as an author. Her talent as a writer is undeniable but I felt like I was reading the same story over and over with different characters and specifics. That was until I read Small Great Things.

Unlike Picoult’s other books, Small Great Things isn’t 100% focused on the medical side of a narrative. There is enough of that to mark it as a Picoult novel but at the same time this story veers in a new and exciting direction which has reunited me with a brilliant author.

Ruth is a nurse – that’s probably how she would like to define herself. Other people might define her as black or a woman, but she sees past anything that can hold her back in life and believes that if she works hard, maybe twice as hard as white people, she can still achieve everything she dreams of. In contrast to Ruth, Turk is a white supremacist. He hates black people, despises them, and when his son dies on what he thinks is a black nurse’s (Ruth’s) watch, he wants revenge. Refusing to face the facts, Turk’s immoral personality is clear right from the start of the novel and it’s no spoiler. That’s exactly what makes this book special. It’s not about figuring out what is right and wrong – it’s about already knowing and actually doing something about it.

For me, as a white woman in British society, I probably don’t see as much racism as what actually occurs in daily life. Just like many of my friends who are men do not see how much sexism circulates on a daily basis. I loved how Picoult drew on not just the obvious examples of racism, but that which is passive also because passive racism is just as damaging, ignorant and hurtful. It needs to stop.

Kennedy, Ruth’s appointed lawyer, was one of my favourite characters in the novel, probably because I related to her the most. She’s morally aware but ignorant at the same time and her blindness to these social injustices are what illuminated my mind to them also. In a different way, I was absolutely fascinated by Brit – Turk’s wife and the mother of his dead son. Her brainwashed view on society had me questioning how a young child can be led into extreme, immoral views. Plus, her character went through a few brilliantly woven twists throughout the story.

If you like novels on social issues, psychology, morality, or simply frustration, then Small Great Things may appeal to you. You can get your copy here.

Love, Jess

I was given a copy in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley. 

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