Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

73%

14 Critic Reviews

The book is a courageous and important work. It was devoured in one devoted sitting and well worth the investment of time, emotion and the humble resignation that even with small, great steps, we still have a long way to go.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead readers to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, Small Great Things is the stunning new page-turner from Jodi Picoult.

“[Picoult] offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book.”—Booklist (starred review)

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

Praise for Small Great Things

Small Great Things is the most important novel Jodi Picoult has ever written. . . . It will challenge her readers . . . [and] expand our cultural conversation about race and prejudice.”—The Washington Post

“A novel that puts its finger on the very pulse of the nation that we live in today . . . a fantastic read from beginning to end, as can always be expected from Picoult, this novel maintains a steady, page-turning pace that makes it hard for readers to put down.”—San Francisco Book Review

“A gripping courtroom drama . . . Given the current political climate it is quite prescient and worthwhile. . . . This is a writer who understands her characters inside and out.”—Roxane Gay, The New York Times Book Review

“I couldn’t put it down. Her best yet!”—New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman

“A compelling, can’t-put-it-down drama with a trademark [Jodi] Picoult twist.”—Good Housekeeping

“It’s Jodi Picoult, the prime provider of literary soul food. This riveting drama is sure to be supremely satisfying and a bravely thought-provoking tale on the dangers of prejudice.”—Redbook

“Jodi Picoult is never afraid to take on hot topics, and in Small Great Things, she tackles race and discrimination in a way that will grab hold of you and refuse to let you go. . . . This page-turner is perfect for book clubs.”—Popsugar

 

 

About Jodi Picoult

See more books from this Author
Jodi Picoult is the author of eighteen novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers House Rules, Handle With Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Visit her at JodiPicoult.com.Samantha van Leer is a junior in high school. She conceived the idea for this book and pitched it to her mom, who was in the middle of a book tour. In her spare time, Samantha can be found playing softball, doing contemporary dance, acting and singing in musicals, and cuddling on the ground with her two dogs, Dudley and Oliver—for whom the prince in this fairy tale was named.
 
Published October 11, 2016 by Ballantine Books. 481 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
icon3
Peak Rank on Oct 30 2016
icon16
Weeks as Bestseller
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Small Great Things
All: 14 | Positive: 11 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Below average
on Jul 19 2016

After she sets up a world in which racism thoroughly defines every aspect of character and plot, Picoult's conclusion occurs in a separate fairy-tale world where racism suddenly does not exist, resulting in a rather juvenile portrayal of racial politics in America.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Oct 07 2016

Some may be put off by the moralistic undertone of Picoult’s tale, while others will appreciate the inspiration it provides for a much-needed conversation about race and prejudice in America.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Roxane Gay on Oct 11 2016

It is, in the end, the author’s note that leaves me feeling generous toward “Small Great Things” despite its shortcomings. Picoult wanted to write about race in contemporary America, and she does. The novel is messy, but so is our racial climate. I give Picoult a lot of credit for trying...

Read Full Review of Small Great Things | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Saadia Faruqi on Nov 21 2016

At the end of the day, Small Great Things is a valiant effort to do something positive. Picoult must be applauded for that. The story itself is excellent, fast-paced, and even at times nail biting. But there are bound to be #ownvoices criticisms that are equally valid.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Ginny Greene on Nov 22 2016

The book is a courageous and important work. It was devoured in one devoted sitting and well worth the investment of time, emotion and the humble resignation that even with small, great steps, we still have a long way to go.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Book Reporter

Good
on Nov 21 2016

With incredible empathy, intelligence and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice and compassion --- and doesn’t offer easy answers. SMALL GREAT THINGS is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things

Book Reporter

Good
on Oct 01 2016

It’s the kind of book you immediately want to have a meaningful conversation about! One final note: Jodi's last couple of books were not faves of mine. For any of you who have not read her work in a while, this is the one you want to pick up.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things

Express

Good
Reviewed by Charlotte Heathcote on Nov 06 2016

This is an important, gripping novel about power, privilege, prejudice and justice. It will make you think and it will make you see the world differently.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things

20Something Reads

Good
Reviewed by Katherine B. Weissman on Oct 13 2016

These, to me, are the most powerful moments of the novel, and the ones that will stay with me as I move around my own multiracial city and put my own behavior to the test. SMALL GREAT THINGS makes it clear that inclusiveness requires a commitment from us all. Nothing could be more important.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things

The Sydney Morning Herald

Above average
Reviewed by Kerryn Goldsworthy on Nov 05 2016

Her novels may not be great art but they are skilful and inventive, and wrestle with difficult, distressing and often intractable social issues.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things

Newsday

Good
Reviewed by Lisa Kennedy on Oct 17 2016

Can Ruth be the hero of her own story? Or must she be saved by Kennedy? Turns out, this is Picoult’s driving concern, too. That “Small Great Things” embraces this question with empathy, hope and humility is no small feat.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things

Booklist Online

Excellent
Reviewed by Kristine Huntley on Jul 31 2016

Picoult’s gripping tale is told from three points of view, that of Ruth, Kennedy, and Turk, and offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things

Calgary Herald

Good
Reviewed by TRACY SHERLOCK on Sep 23 2016

Picoult’s stories are always interested — they’re well-written, fast-paced, multi-faceted and current. Small Great Things is no different. It will leave you with lots to think about, more knowledge than you had before and a deeper understanding of America today.

Read Full Review of Small Great Things

https://bookpage.com

Good
Reviewed by Thane Tierney on Oct 11 2016

While riveting, this is by no means an easy book; all the players have virtues and flaws, and uncomfortable questions are raised on virtually every page. And while a few of her characters embody behaviors that some might find formulaic, Picoult navigates the waters like a seasoned journalist...

Read Full Review of Small Great Things

Reader Rating for Small Great Things
89%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 5059 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×