Saturday, 28 January 2017

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.

Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.

Unpopular opinion, but I didn't love this book...

In her latest release, Jodi Picoult tackles a very prevalent and timely social matter - racism and prejudice against people of colour. When labour and delivery nursery, Ruth, is removed from caring for a patient due to a request by the baby's white supremacist father, Turk, and his wife, she has no other option than to follow the orders of her higher up. Following these orders, baby Davis soon passes away whilst left under the eye of Ruth. Turk is quick to point the finger at Ruth being a part of his son's death, and the unfolding story sees Ruth's life entirely rocked by these allegations.

The story is told from three viewpoints - Ruth, Turk, and also Ruth's lawyer, Kennedy, and follows events all the way from Ruth being removed from the case, covering the trial that unfolds, and ends with a look at the lives of Ruth and Turk six years down the line.

I was so looking forward to reading Small Great Things. Jodi Picoult is an author whose books I've enjoyed for a very long time now, honestly I haven't loved them all, but I make a point of reading her newest release each year and tend to come away with some thought provoking thoughts. It is without a doubt that I've come away from this book with many thoughts, but I've also been left a little disappointed in the writing of this book.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is amazing that Picoult has tackled this issue that many would shy away from, and the fact that she has not only got many people talking about racism, but also acknowledging it. My issue lies in the execution of the story at hand... To begin with I was pulled into the story, getting to know Ruth, watching events unfold, but the further I got into the book, the more and more I disliked.

I didn't like any of the characters. Now, I don't need to like a character in order to enjoy a book, however I didn't like these characters as they all felt like stereotypes to me. Every single one of them.

The book dragged on a little in my opinion, with some scenes seeming to be there just for dramatic effect, as opposed to successfully getting a message across. I also thought there was some hypocrisy within the narrative that was never addressed.

When the case came to trial, the book really came alive for me. Whilst I wasn't keen on her as a character, I thought Kennedy really shone in the courtroom. I think perhaps this part of the book spoke to me most as the stories that heavily involve the courtroom (namely her earlier work) are the stories of Jodi Picoult's that I absolutely love and reread to this day.

I highly recommend reading the 'Author's Note' at the end this book, as it really gives you an insight into what Picoult was hoping to achieve with this novel of hers. As I've said above, I think it is amazing that many people are talking about and really thinking about racism having read this book and the message she is trying to put across quite a powerful one, but the story itself fell a little short for me.



  1. I'm looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for your opinion.

    1. I hope you enjoy this book when you do get round to reading it. Thanks for stopping by :-)

  2. I want to read this but have definitely heard similar reviews to yours. I hate when a book drags and characters are very much stereotypes. Great review!

    1. I had heard mostly rave reviews prior to reading this title, and so I was left a little disappointed. Long winded books + stereotyped characters are dislikes of mine always. Thanks!

  3. I enjoyed it more when I got the court scenes also but because it read like a novel and not real life. I found this very hard to read and very timely for what is going on globally. Jodi P books I also stopped reading but this one seemed important as I wanted to be part of the discussions.

    1. I agree, whilst I didn't love the story told, I did feel it important to read this one and the message being put forward is so important right now.

  4. I'm glad I got to read your thoughts. I was thinking of picking this one up as my first Jodi Picoult book. If I don't love it, I will know it's not just me!!

    1. Ooo... I think it isn't the best to go in with as your first Picoult, however if you do and end up disliking it, then I'd definitely say not to write off her writing from that one experience. The Storyteller is my favourite of her most recent works (released in 2013).

      Having said that, I hope you have a better experience with this book than I did.


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