Small Great Things
Book Review - Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way." - Martin Luther King Jr.
This book is about racism. It is the story of Ruth Jefferson, an African-American labor and delivery nurse instructed not to care for an infant at the request of the baby's white-supremacist parents. She is put into an impossible situation when she is left alone with the infant when he goes into cardiac distress. Should she follow orders and not touch the infant? Perhaps run to find someone else risking that she doesn't save the baby in time. Should she care for the infant immediately, which is his best chance for survival but risk reprimand for deliberately disobeying orders from the child's parents and her supervisor?
As a result of her hesitation, Ruth is charged with a serious crime. At trial, she is represented by Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, who advises Ruth not to mention race during the trial.
This is one of those books I'll be thinking about for years to come. I listened to it on Audible and one of my favorite parts was the interview with Jodi Picoult about her struggle as a white author to tell this story about racism. You can listen to her interview with Scott Simon on NPR, which covers some of the same material, here:
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