Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult | Book Review

Copy of The Bad Beginning

Ruth Jefferson, a skillful nurse who has more than twenty years of experiences in labor and delivery. She is also a wonderful mom who is always the role model for her son. But her life changed after a baby died in her hospital. Because the baby’s parents are racism, they accused Ruth, the only African American nurse in the department, as the reason for their son’s death. ——This is how the story start.

It was a tough read/ listen (I listened the audio book). The more I listened to it, the more I thought: “Oh, maybe it’s a historical fiction.” So I went online, and found that the novel was in a present setting. Meaning the story should happen in 2016 (the publish date). After reading the author’s note at the end of the book, which I learnt that she interviewed several people including African American, post racism people and attorney, I finally believe the story could happen today, and this kind of stories are actually still happening, everyday.

And then, I was in astonishment. After that, I got shamed of myself for not knowing this kind of story could happen today. Although I was born and raised far away from the US, I do study and live in American for the past few years, and experienced the culture and changes America had these years.

Back to the book. We have three narrators. Ruth the Nurse, the father of the child, the public defender of Ruth.

Ruth tried her entire life to be a decent person, to let go the uncomfortable situation. She believed study good and work hard is the way to earn respect. But with her patient and her hospital treated her unequal just because of her race, her whole belief system crashed down.

Besides Ruth, we have the father guy, who I disliked and could never understand, who had his bias on races and had engaged himself to some kind of white movement. Also the public defender who believed in equality, and had never thought herself to be inappropriate. But they all learnt something along with the story. But throughout the story development, I saw self-examination.

And I also loved some side character for example Ruth’s sister was so vivid and thoughtful, in her own way of course. And Ruth’s childhood friend was there for her too. Both of them did some inappropriate things to help Ruth but I loved that the book explained how supportive actions look different from different perspective.

With all the things going around the world these days, I think this book is a must and meaningful read for all of us.

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