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Book Reviews of Small Great Things

Small Great Things
Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult
ISBN-13: 9780345813381
ISBN-10: 0345813383
Publication Date: 10/11/2016
Pages: 480
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.

3.1 stars, based on 7 ratings
Publisher: Random House Canada
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

14 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Small Great Things on + 234 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I have read many of her books and I have to say this is my favorite. There were so many twists; some totally unexpected. As always when reading a book by Jodi Picoult, she challenges the reader to look at different viewpoints from different characters then form your own opinion as to what you think is morally right.
reviewed Small Great Things on + 65 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Oh my, my, my! What a book! What a story! I have read every book she's written, seen her in person twice, so yeah, I'm a fan! Some of her novels are better than others. This one was great! I think, it is quite unforgettable, putting it on my list of books I finish but continue to think about. Plus, I live in New Haven CT and that's where the story takes place!
jodymcgrath avatar reviewed Small Great Things on + 110 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Ruth is a nurse in the neonatal unit in a Connecticut hospital. She is great at her job and has been there for over twenty years. Once she put her name in for a promotion, but the job was given to another woman who had ten years less experience. Ruth is doing an exam on a newborn, when the father orders her out of the room and demands a different nurse. Her boss agrees to his wishes. Ruth is not to touch the baby. When Ruth is the only nurse on the floor and the baby starts having trouble breathing, what is she to do? Does she try to save the baby or stay away like the parents and her boss told her to do? It sounds like an easy answer, but the truth is when you are a black woman living in a white world, you learn fast that every decision you make is never easy.

This book is told by three POVs. That of Ruth, the black nurse; Turk, the white supremacist father; and Kennedy, the white defense attorney. This book was hard to read. Not because of the writing, it was beatifully written, but because of the subject matter. There is so much that is unjust in the book that it leaves you angry that we live in such a hateful world. This book is written to make you feel and question yourself. It isn't written to only entertain you, but to hold a mirror up to you and remind you of who you are and how you became that person. Was it a struggle? Was it easy? Why is being white not the first thing those who are white think of when we identify ourselves, but it is the definitive identity of other races?

This book is a fantastic book that I think everyone should have to read and reflect upon. Don't think you are going to read this book for fun though. This is one of those books that stay with you for a very long time.
* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *
reviewed Small Great Things on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I very much enjoyed reading this book. Jodi is a great author. 5 stars
debs avatar reviewed Small Great Things on + 641 more book reviews
A real page turner! I could not put this book down. Unexpected twists keep the reader in suspense as âwhat will happen next'?
junie avatar reviewed Small Great Things on + 630 more book reviews
This is not my favorite story line. I don't like to read a book that "sends a message". The plot was all too familiar; white vs black vs white supremacy.

Ruth is a labor and delivery nurse for 20 years, on trial for murdering the baby of white supremacists She was told not to touch their as a sticky note was put in the file. When the baby went into cardiac arrest, she didn't know whether to act or not.

The defense lawyer Kennedy who takes on Ruth's case is a gem and is really the only character I liked; the relationship she had with her husband and the way she mothered her child. She truly cared about helping people.

On the other hand, Ruth was always on edge, has a chip on her shoulder and tries to prove something, while she lives in a white neighborhood, works in a white hospital, and only has white friends. She constantly pushes her bright son to be the best. She's ashamed of her sister who is blacker than she and lives in Harlem. She doesn't approve of him hanging around with his cousin since he smoked pot and ran around with friends she deemed unworthy.

The trial was interesting, I adore trial stories, but when Ruth defied her lawyer's plea's not to take the stand because she felt they already won, Ruth insisted and her anger got the better of her and caused an outburst at the white supremacists Zeke and wife Brit.

Kennedy discovered a shocking fact that Brit had a black mother she never knew who showed up at the trial, creating pandemonium.
Then came the closing arguments and Kennedy's was brilliant.

The ending was too perfect. All involved had a change of heart and were better people because of the tragic events that took place.

So all was right in the world?

So much was far-fetched and beyond belief.

All in all, I'm glad I read it anyway. Just not one of my favorites.
esjro avatar reviewed Small Great Things on + 901 more book reviews
This was a page-turner! The ending was a bit too kumbaya, but the story and characters were very engaging.
23dollars avatar reviewed Small Great Things on + 432 more book reviews
While I found Small Great Things to be effective for bringing a discussion of skin color and privilege to the commercial fiction audience, only one of the three focal characters really rang true to me.

Kennedy, the attorney, was the most authentic, like a real person, while Ruth and Turk felt too heavy-handed and purposeful as black victim and pro-white skinhead, respectively.

The pacing was also choked by poorly timed backstory dumps, and the redundancy of revisiting various scenes from each of the three characters' POVs. Things didn't pick up and really begin commanding my interest until jury selection got underway, which comes well beyond the halfway point!

Also, at times the narrative felt almost like borderline textbook reading vs. fictional storytelling. It's a very heavy-handed message book vs. being a natural and authentic story that has an underlying message. There were lots of convenient, coincidental incidents used to make a point about discrimination and privilege. I felt there were more subtle and organic ways to achieve the same goal with the narrative. What reader wants to feel beaten over the head with any good message?

Overall, it highlights some very good points about American society, and encourages people to exam themselves and their own individual role in things.

At the end of the day, despite its flaws, Small Great Things is a very momentous book, particularly because the author is a household name with a huge built-in audience. Bravo to Jodi Picoult for having made the effort!
reviewed Small Great Things on + 147 more book reviews
I've heard of Jodi Picoult but never read any of her books before this one which was loaned to me by a friend. The book was engaging but there were some things that I found a bit unbelievable. The note in the chart, which started the whole thing, was shocking but, as some other reviewers noted, that actually happened to a black nurse in Flint, MI. The fact that Ruth, the main character, who had been a nurse for 20+ years, felt she had to lie about her efforts to save baby Davis seems far fetched. And, then she continued to lie about it until nearly the end of her trial.

The cops breaking into Ruth's house in the middle of the night to arrest her also stretches the imagination. As the trial is nearly over and an acquittal seems likely, Ruth takes the stand and decides to go against her attorney's advice just to make a point. Seemed out of character for Ruth. She could have waited until after the trial was over and then given an interview.

There were a couple of interesting twists at the very end.
mom2nine avatar reviewed Small Great Things on + 342 more book reviews
Put this down at 155 pgs. I expect more from an author who has a following. Usually Picoult writes in the gray zones, allowing the reader to see both sides; pardon the pun, but the characters were too black and white. Why chose a full on white supremacist as the bad guy, because they "walk among us"? Just today I saw a man on our walking trail in a David Duke t-shirt with a barely restrained pitbull, what would it have taken to unrestrain his dog? Racism is much more insidious in our society. Ruth's mom is a domestic, how cliche', although I have never known anyone with a black maid or nanny. Ruth's bitter sister lives in the projects, once again, do only blacks in the projects feel scorned? This book could have been so much better, get out of your upscale white neighborhood, Picoult, don't interview black women, get to know them, listen to their hopes and dreams, day to day life in middle class neighborhoods. This book reminded me too much of the movie "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" and it's Sidney Portier, all I could think was why did that man want that flighty young girl.
njmom3 avatar reviewed Small Great Things on + 1361 more book reviews
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult is not a comfortable book to read. It will make you think about your own views and prejudices. I think that's the point as Jodi Picoult tackles the conversation about race, prejudice, and the justice system. The book is not perfect in its depictions, but it accomplishes its purpose to keep the conversation moving. It holds true to the quote that is its inspiration. This is a fictional story that may perhaps contribute in a small way to great change.

Read my complete review at

Reviewed based on a publisher's galley received through NetGalley.
flyinggems avatar reviewed Small Great Things on + 433 more book reviews
I was only 20 pages in and the book took a turn that I was not expecting. When I turned the page and started reading the story of the next character, I was not sure I was going to be able to finish this book. I was able to finish the book and by the end understood the story she was trying to tell. I think the last chapter was too perfect with a bow.

Books by Jodi Picoult
Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices (1992)
Harvesting the Heart (1993)
Picture Perfect (1995)
Mercy (1996)
The Pact (1998)
Keeping Faith (1999)
Plain Truth (2000)
Salem Falls (2001)
Perfect Match (2002)
Second Glance (2003)
My Sister's Keeper (2004)
Vanishing Acts (2005)
The Tenth Circle (2006)
Nineteen Minutes (2007)
Change of Heart (2008)
Handle with Care (2009)
House Rules (2010)
Sing You Home (2011)
Lone Wolf (2012)
Between the Lines (2012) (with Samantha van Leer)
The Storyteller (2013)
Leaving Time (2014)
Off the Page (2015) (with Samantha van Leer)
small great things (2016)
kramer avatar reviewed Small Great Things on + 5 more book reviews
I did not like this book at all. About â of the way through it I stopped reading it. I ended up picking it back up and finishing it because my mother read it and said it gets better. It did not really get much better. The two main characters are very annoying and I hated both of them. Turk, is a very racist, mean white supremesist. The other, Ruth, is a black nurse who is paranoid and thinks the whole world is against her because she is black. If someone cuts her in line in the store, it must be because she is black, etc. She ends up taking care of the supremacists baby and something goes wrong. There is another character, a lawyer, who defends Ruth. The lawyer is more of a normal person, not as extreme as the other two. I am used to Jodi Picoult's book to have more suspense and twists but this book did not. I ends exactly like you think it will. Boring!
reviewed Small Great Things on + 272 more book reviews
FANTASTIC! I really didn't expect anything less! A must read!