Friday, 19 May 2017

Book Review: Small great things - J. Picoult

“Babies are such blank slates. They don’t come into this world with the assumptions their parents have made, or the promises their church will give, or the ability to sort people into groups they like and don’t like. They don’t come into this world with anything, really, except a need for comfort. And they will take it from anyone, without judging the giver. I wonder how long it takes before the polish given by nature gets worn off by nurture.” 

The first few pages of this novel really touched me, especially the part about the baby born without face. So sad but also so full of love. The middle part was very interesting, a lot of things to reflect on, about races, prejudice, growing kids in this world, friendship, duty of care, hate and love. The final part is a crescendo of emotions which you really want to devour. 

I loved the main character Ruth, I loved how professional and no-nonsense she is, I loved how she aspires for her son to thrive. And I loved her mama, who worked so hard to make sure their daughters had a good life.
I was quite shock in reading about the white supremacy movements in the US, I did not think they were still such a big and ignorant mass of men and women. I don't know if the novel really reflects the truth, but I was extremely shocked to read how the "people of colour" are still kind of look at with suspicion in America. I thought the USA were a nation now of freedom and multiculturalism, with rare occasions of racism and race discrimination. But I did not think it was still such a wide and day to day problem. I was surely naive but it was really a massive down  for me to read about all the obstacles a person of colour has to go through just because they are black.
It is also always fascinating to read about the Americal legal system and court cases, I loved reading about the jury's choice process.

I loved how this novel mixed a very serious subject to the legal part to the more human-family part.
And I loved how Ruth is coherent to herself and her believes and her rights.

I am not overly convinced about the ending, which I am not going to reveal, but it is a bit too cheesy and forced in my view.

In summary, it is a great book about a very controversial matter, which made me want to read more on the subject. I always though about Picoult as a "women romance" writer, but this novel is all but that. 

“It just goes to show you: every baby is born beautiful. It's what we project on them that makes them ugly.” 

Overall rating: 8   Plot: 8   Writing style: 8    Cover: 7

Title:Small great things
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Hodder
Pages: 528
Publication year: 2016

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.
The Author:
Jodi Picoult (19 May 1966) is an American author of 23 bestselling novels. Jodi serves on the advisory board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, a research-driven organization whose goal is to increase critical attention to contemporary women’s writing and to foster transparency around gender and racial equality issues in contemporary literary culture. She has been married to Timothy Warren Van Leer, whom she met while in college, since 1989.They and their three children, Samantha van LeerKyle van Leer, and Jake van Leer, and a handful of pets, live in Hanover, New Hampshire.

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