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“Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult

4 out of 5 stars!

A story about racism. The subjects are Ruth Jefferson, a black L and D nurse with over twenty years of experience that gets assigned to Turk Bauer, a white supremacist, and his newborn baby, Davis. Due to complications that are discussed at length throughout the future trial that is held between the two, baby Davis does not make it past three days old at the hospital and the question is “why”? Is the underlying issue here that Ruth failed as a nurse or that she is assumed to be the cause because the color of her skin. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white Defense lawyer, steps in to defend Ruth and Odette Lawton, a black Prosecutor, is paired up with Turk. The lines are extremely blurry to say the least. Another ball volleyed into the text is if race should even be discussed despite the obvious swastika tattoo on Turk’s head and the white power group in the stands rallying for him. Will it just seem to muddy the waters and make the jury not get a clear point?Kennedy believes the jury likes facts and figures which can be heard through medical reports and they do not like to see emotion which is what the “race card” is labeled under. Ruth Jefferson wants to show her seventeen year old son that although she has ignored her disrespect through daily life, the time has come for her to say her peace.


If the reader has taken on a Jodi Picoult book in the past, they are aware that they are lengthy in size but worth it. This one was no different. Sometimes I wished she didn’t really reiterate a point so much but in the end I believe she does it because she writes as though she is in a courtroom herself (true story is Picoult was in her past life)! She wants to convince the reader that there are several points-on both sides-that need hearing and wants to make sure they are driven home.


I live in an all white suburb so I am not in constant contact of really any persons of color so it was extremely eye opening but also disturbing to get a glance into what a lot of Chinese, Hispanics, Blacks, etc deal with on a daily basis that I may of never knew or noticed. Simple things like going to a TJ Maxx can lead to an employee doing small checks and balances to make sure the customer is staying in line. I am happy Jodi Picoult did such in-depth research to try and express the best she can (as a white woman) what it may be like to be a minority living in the United States. She is an author with such high regards that I am glad to know thousands of her readers were receiving the same message as I to not think about it is as black or white but rather all the same; human. Above all Ruth Jefferson was a nurse and took the same oath as the other white nurses and that was to try her best to save anyone in that hospital.IMG_6547

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