24 reviews

Small Great Things: A Novel
by Jodi Picoult

Published: 2016-10-11
Hardcover : 480 pages
77 members reading this now
121 clubs reading this now
17 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 24 of 24 members

#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.



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#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.


“[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

“A gripping courtroom drama . . . Given the current political climate it is quite prescient and worthwhile. . . . This is a writer who understands her characters inside and out.”—Roxane Gay, The New York Times Book Review

“I couldn’t put it down. Her best yet!”New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman

“A compelling, can’t-put-it-down drama with a trademark [Jodi] Picoult twist.”Good Housekeeping

“It’s Jodi Picoult, the prime provider of literary soul food. This riveting drama is sure to be supremely satisfying and a bravely thought-provoking tale on the dangers of prejudice.”Redbook

“Jodi Picoult is never afraid to take on hot topics, and in Small Great Things, she tackles race and discrimination in a way that will grab hold of you and refuse to let you go. . . . This page-turner is perfect for book clubs.”Popsugar


Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of October 2016: Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things is about racism, choice, fear, and hope. The novel is based on the true story of a labor and delivery nurse who was prohibited from caring for a newborn because the father requested that no African-American nurses tend to his baby. In the fictional version, Ruth, the African-American nurse in question, finds herself on trial for events related to the same request made by a white supremacist father. Using the narratives of Ruth, the baby’s father, and the female public defender who takes Ruth’s case, Picoult examines multiple facets of racism. The topic of race in America is difficult to talk about, but in in an honest and revealing way Picoult allows readers to draw their own conclusions about how we see ourselves and others in the world. Small Great Things is an important and thought-provoking novel about power and prejudice that deserves to be read, digested, and shared with others. --Seira Wilson, The Amazon Book Review


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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

If possible, listen to any interview with the author. Be sure to discuss the author's note at the back of the book. Both are insightful.
by mrbranstner@gmail.com (see profile) 03/10/17

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Great discussion generator.
by kmcjohn (see profile) 03/02/17
People were very engaged.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by kimfalter73@icloud.com (see profile) 03/18/17

  "small great things"by srocha (see profile) 03/13/17

Ms Picoult put into words what I have only thought at times. She wrote each character as if it was that person writing what was taking place at his or her time. She stepped out of her comfort zone in... (read more)

by mrbranstner@gmail.com (see profile) 03/10/17

by aliciasilverthompson@gmail.com (see profile) 03/10/17

  "Jodi's best"by kathleenpiggins@gmail.com (see profile) 03/09/17

I adored the premise of this story and applaud how Jodi Picoult told the tale. She creates empathy for the characters and an insight into a difficult topic. It was a great discussion for our group.

  "Small Great Things"by Nschulte (see profile) 03/08/17

This book was captivating, involved excellent research, told a difficult, but riveting story. Character development was very well done, one gets caught up in their lives. It fostered great discussion on... (read more)

  "Small Great things not so small"by kmcjohn (see profile) 03/02/17

Gripping story with an excellent exploration of implicit bias and the golf of understanding between groups. The strong need to really discuss difficult subjects.

  "Get ready to talk"by hhrogue (see profile) 02/28/17

This book by far generated the most discussion at our book club. It is perfect for book clubs! Race is such a hot topic these days. Jodi Picoult does what she does best and makes you think about things... (read more)

by nuthatch903 (see profile) 02/23/17

by rmjjj (see profile) 02/22/17

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