By Kayla Fontaine, Technology Specialist
Rating: 5/5 Stars!
Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspirational words “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things that are great” became the namesake of Jodi Piccoult’s latest novel, Small Great Things. Based on true events the story begins with the birth of Davis Bauer. Highly-experienced labor and delivery nurse, Ruth Jefferson, performs a routine examination in the room with his parents, but following the checkup is swiftly removed from Davis’ case. Why? Davis is the son of white supremacists. Ruth is Black.
By happenstance Ruth finds herself alone with Davis as he goes into distress. Having been explicitly told not to touch the newborn, she hesitates to deliver emergency care and the baby tragically dies. We follow the father, Ruth, and her attorney, Kennedy, through the wrongful death suit saturated in racism that follows.
As most of Piccoult’s novels are, the story is riveting. In this particular instance, it’s also very timely as we participate in a nationwide conversation about race and modern day racism in our country. Piccoult explores both overt racism and the more nuanced prejudice that people of color experience daily. She manages to do this with great empathy and understanding, while painting a very clear picture of the internal and external struggles faced by the African American community. She also somehow succeeds in humanizing the deplorable white supremacist.
Small Great Things will make you think. It will strengthen your empathy and understanding for others. It will remind you that everyone is both different and the same. And it will reinforce that hatred and anger are never the answer. Read this book, please.
Small Great Things will be on KPL shelves any day now, be sure to check it out!