Small Great Things: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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A woman is caught in a gripping moral dilemma that resonates far beyond her place in time and history in number one New York Times best seller Jodi Picoult's latest.
'I don't want that nurse touching my baby.' Those are the instructions from the newborn child's parents. However, when the baby goes into cardiac arrest, Ruth, a nurse of 20 years' experience, sees no option but to assist. But the baby dies. And Ruth is charged with negligent homicide.
Ruth is shattered and bewildered as she tries to come to terms with her situation. She finds different kinds of support from her sister, a fiery radical, and her teenage son, but it is to Kennedy McQuarrie, a white middle-class lawyer, to whom she entrusts her case - and her future.
As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear. For the privileged to prosper, they come to realise, others have to suffer. Racism takes many forms and is reinforced by the structures of our society.
In gripping dramas like Nineteen Minutes, My Sister's Keeper and The Pact, Jodi Picoult has explored the big issues of our time through characters whose lives resonate with us. Here we see once again her unrivalled ability to immerse us in a story whose issues will linger with us long after the story has finished.
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|Listening Length||16 hours and 31 minutes|
|Narrator||Audra McDonald, Ari Fliakos, Cassandra Campbell|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||14 October 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 2,504 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
5 in Medical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
5 in Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
6 in Black & African American Women's Fiction (Books)
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Top reviews from Australia
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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. 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? 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 beautifully 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. As such, this is an important novel and would be a great choice for book clubs, with much to discuss. Like all Jodi Picoult books its a 'do not miss this one' because its one that will Move you.
Some time ago, I heard Jodi interviewed on the radio, and she was saying something like "what do I know about what it feels like to be a black nurse" and she described some of the research she did for the book. I thought it sounded interesting. Then, time went by and I forgot all about the book. About ten days ago, the book popped up as being on sale--right when I wanted something different to read over the Christmas break.
I got it. And I am so I glad I did.
Do I know anything about being black? No. Or about being a nurse? No. Or about being a white supremacist? Absolutely not! What about being a lawyer? Uh, no. Do I know anything about courtroom proceedings? Only what I've seen in films. But none of that matters. This book made me think about what respect and tolerance mean to me. And that can only be a good thing. Thank you, Jodi, for writing this. I'm certain it was not an easy story to write.
Jodi has written this story through the eyes of Ruth, Turk and Ruth's lawyer Kennedy. Like all of the other Picoult stories I have read it is very readable, touches on real life matters in a personal way and opens up a painful world that many of us are truly unaware of. Another great story by a talented author.
I would describe myself as a typical, middle class white person and I am telling you now, you need to read this book. I don't care if you're white, black, green, purple, Asian, Hispanic etc etc etc, you should read this book.
Racism is a hard topic to to get right, and everyone's opinions differ on the subject, but I believe Jodi Picoult handled it beautifully, especially as a white person herself (which she talks to in the notes at the end). I particularly loved that this book didn't just focus on the blatant racism that occurs (white supremacists etc), but also the everyday injustices that happen. Someone choosing to sit next to one person over another because of the colour of their skin. Someone being watched a little more closely in a shop. It has made me look at myself and how I think about and treat people, and that can only be a good thing.
A dropped star (let's cal it a .5) as it did take a little bit to get into the real crux of the story, and I thought a little more could have been done with the ending. As we've all come to expect from this author though, Small Great thing is a very well written, often heartbreaking, story.
Let's call it a solid 4.5 stars.
Top reviews from other countries
The reviewer who said she stopped reading after the point of Ruth’s arrest because it was “unrealistic “, should perhaps familiarise herself more with the American legal system and be grateful she doesn’t live there! Which is turn makes me think an interesting discussion would be how far different are things in America? I was shocked that the presumption of free speech in the USA would allow an organisation such as a hospital to forbid an African-American nurse to treat a white child. Unless I am very wrong, that would be illegal here.
But as many other readers have also said, I found myself questioning my innate racism. I hope this book will stay with me and keep challenging me to face up to deep-seated and ingrained prejudices.
It isn’t a courtroom drama as such - I found the courtroom aspect enough and not long winded or boring. It kept you gripped. The story is based on a baby of a white supremacist who dies in hospital shortly after being born. The nurse accused of killing him is African American. I highly recommend this book. It kept me turning the pages!
I did not like the racial undertone nor the medical abbreviations and jargon. I was not happy with the narrative and did not like any of the characters.
I could see where the story was going and did not want to go there. Once I start skipping paragraphs (which I did frequently during Turks narrative) I know it’s time to give up.
I think this book did an amazing job at opening up the topic of racism to the reader. As a white woman, living in a pretty middle class existence, I know for a fact that I have unfair privileges and I will never fully understand the complexities of racism, as much as I try to educate myself. This novel certainly has opened my eyes to the some of the more subtle aspects of racism that I hadn’t even thought about before. While there were the obvious racist themes in this novel, it wasn’t those that shocked me the most, it was the parts that you don’t often think about when you think of racism. So for that, for opening my eyes and my mind, I applaud Picoult for writing such a difficult and controversial book.
However, I think the teachings of this book could have been done in a more compelling story. At the end of the day, there was nothing inherently wrong with the plot, but I didn’t quite connect with it. I found a lot of it unexciting and the “twist” at the end, that Picoult just has to add into each one of her books, was so blatantly obvious it didn’t surprise me at all and kind of made the rest of the book feel a bit cheap?
Picoult’s writing isn’t my favourite, it doesn’t suck me in as much as other authors, but its still weaves a pretty interesting story. I think the characters in this book were far stronger than the plot.
My favourite part of this novel was watching Ruth and Kennedy’s relationship grow. I loved seeing how Kennedy steadily grew to understand Ruth’s frustrations and her plight to bring race to the forefront of people’s minds.
Overall, I did enjoy this book, mainly because of what it taught me and how it’s made me see things in a different way. But, it’s not the most exciting story I’ve ever read and I’m not big on the writing style.