My take on “Small Great Things” – Jodi Picoult


Do you ever get so consumed in a book, that you try and spend as much of your spare time reading, like every second counts?

I have 5 minutes maximum left before I need to go out to get to work, if I don’t leave in 5 mins I will be late. Honestly I should be leaving right now- that way should I get any disturbances along the way, the 5 minutes allowance will cater for it.

But I will be using every millisecond of that 5 minutes to continue reading this book.

Have any of you guys read this book? If not- Go and get it. It’s a heart stopper.

It’s about Ruth Jefferson a widowed, single parent, black midwife who was banned from looking after a newborn from the parents (Turk and Brittany Bauer- white supremacist) because of the colour of her skin.

This newborn ends up loosing his life whilst under her care- and she ends up being arrested for murder.

We get to see the whole novel unfold from 3 different viewpoints, Ruth, Turk and Kennedy- the female white lawyer defending Ruth.

Name of book taken from this quote. ” Both Ruth and Kennedy have moments in the novel where they do a small thing that has great and lasting repercussions for others” Jodi Picoult.

The book itself is quite disturbing and uncomfortable because it hits some home truths. Kennedy learns these home truths in the novel- it could almost be said that this novel is written as a means to teach us how Evan though we believe we are not racist, we show bias in unsuspected ways, one simple way is when we say “We do not see colour”.

How could this relate to me? As a British Muslim, in some parts of the novel I emphasised with Ruth, it’s a condition we go through- and also like Ruth we put it aside and continue with normal life. We try to belong. In other instances I was shocked. It is brutal. At points I had to put the book aside and breathe to allow it to censor in my mind. I found myself gulping in the frog in my throat, and batting away my water filled eyes.

Living in a multi cultural society I face only minimal amount of racism (it’s there, but not so apparent or threatening) but I hear of stories in other cities, and I feel blessed that I am away from it all.

The ending was dissapointing- for sure. I did a roll eye at one point- why ruin such a good book? It was very cliche- and I think this part was a downer for me. (I think once you read it. You will feel it too) it just felt- not REAL. But apart from that, I consumed my every second free to this book.

After getting over the very clichéd happy ending, we get an insight into Jodi Picoults journey in writing the book, and instantly I forgive her for the bad ending.

She has spent years trying to get the characters in place, and we can feel it through her writing. And Jodi is very brave to be writing a novel of this nature being a priveledged white women- I am sure she will get critism for it. It is fair to say that no matter how much you interact with a person- you can never be in there shoes- unless you are wearing it.

Hats off to her for writing such an emotional, heartbreaking, gut wrenching, tragic and very hard hitting- in your face novel.

It’s definitely in my list of ” best books” read for this year.

Love and regards


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