Hesitating to treat the newborn of a white supremacist couple who has demanded that a white nurse assist them, a black nurse is placed on trial in the tragic aftermath and is aided by a white public defender with whom she begins questioning their beliefs as the case becomes more racially charged. By the #1 best-selling author of Leaving Time. - (Baker & Taylor)
"A woman and her husband admitted to a hospital to have a baby requests that their nurse be reassigned - they are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is black, to touch their baby. The hospital complies, but the baby later goes into cardiac distress when Ruth is on duty. She hesitates before rushing in to perform CPR. When her indecision ends in tragedy, Ruth finds herself on trial, represented by a white public defender who warns against bringing race into a courtroom. As the two come to developa truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear"-- - (Baker & Taylor)
When her reluctance to treat the newborn of a white supremacist couple results in the child's death, a black nurse is placed on trial and is aided by a white public defender who urges her not to bring up race in the courtroom. - (Baker & Taylor)
#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. - (Random House, Inc.)
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
“[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
*Starred Review* Immensely popular novelist Picoult (Leaving Time, 2014) continues to tackle weighty subject matter in her twenty-fourth novel. Ruth Jefferson, a widow with a teenage son, is a labor and delivery nurse and the only African American in her department. When the infant son of two white supremacists, Turk and Brittany Bauer, who have specifically asked that Ruth not handle their child, dies suddenly, Ruth is blamed for the child's death by both the hospital and the child's parents. In quick succession, Ruth loses her license, is dragged from her home by the police in the middle of the night, and is charged with murder. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white female public defender, takes Ruth's case, but her refusal to bring up race in Ruth's defense doesn't sit right with Ruth, given that race is ingrained in the case's DNA, from the Bauers' hateful views to Ruth's supervisor's acquiescence to their demands to Ruth's experience once in the cogs of the justice system. 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.HIGH-DEMAND BACK STORY: Picoult's gift for taking on sensitive and timely issues in page-turning novels will be duly and energetically celebrated in a many-platformed national publicity campaign. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
Picoult, who boasts eight consecutive No. 1 New York Times best sellers, has a way of turning social issues into strong commercial fiction. Here, parents at a hospital to have a baby insist that one of the nurses be reassigned; they are white supremacists and Ruth is black. The hospital complies, but Ruth is the only nurse available when the baby goes into cardiac arrest, and her caution about rushing to the baby's aid leads to tragedy—and a trial. What's crucial is the unfolding of a deeper understanding between Ruth and her (white) public defender, who's initially reluctant to make race an issue. With a 15-city tour.
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Library Journal Reviews
Ruth Jefferson is great at her job. She's an experienced labor and delivery nurse who not only knows how to guide women through labor, but also understands postdelivery needs such as a shoulder to cry on and lipstick. But her career and life change forever when she hesitates before helping a baby in cardiac arrest. Why would a nurse pause to help a patient? Ruth is African American and the baby's white supremacist parents don't want her touching their child. The hospital tells Ruth to comply with the parents' wishes, but when she's the only available nurse, should she follow orders or try to save the newborn's life? Told from the points of view of Ruth, her white public defender, and the white supremacist father, the novel digs into the issue of race. Picoult (Leaving Time; The Storyteller) delivers what her fans expect with a controversial topic that includes plenty of courtroom drama and a surprise twist. The novel is well researched, although it raises the question: can a person of one race write authentically about being another race? VERDICT Recommended for Picoult fans and book clubs that don't shy away from serious discussions. [See Prepub Alert, 4/25/16; 15-city tour.]—Amy Stenftenagel, Washington Cty. Lib., Woodbury, MN
[Page 85]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Bestselling author Picoult's latest page-turner is inspired by a Flint, Mich., event in which a white supremacist father refused to allow an experienced African-American labor and delivery nurse to touch his newborn. In Picoult's story, a medical crisis results in an infant's death and a murder charge against a black nurse named Ruth Jefferson. The story unfolds from three viewpoints: Ruth's, the infant's father—a skinhead named Turk—and Ruth's public defender, Kennedy McQuarrie, a white professional woman questioning her own views about racism. The author's comprehensive research brings veracity to Ruth's story as a professional black woman trying to fit into white society, to Turk's inducement into the white-power movement, and to Kennedy's soul-searching about what it's like to be black in America. Unfortunately, the author undermines this richly drawn and compelling story with a manipulative final plot twist as well as a Pollyannaish ending. 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. (Oct.)
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