32 reviews

Small Great Things: A Novel
by Jodi Picoult

Published: 2016-10-11
Hardcover : 480 pages
79 members reading this now
141 clubs reading this now
23 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 32 of 32 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

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "You will LOVE & HATE this book "by amyrobin (see profile) 04/22/17

WOW. Jodi really did her homework on this one...the fact that it was based on a true story is what lured me in. Our bookclub of 17 members had an average rating of 4.75 stars. Really opened your mind... (read more)

  "Small Great Things"by books4glo (see profile) 04/22/17

Eye opener - grabs you from the first page - interesting discussion book for book clubs.

by stacy.steitz@gmail.com (see profile) 04/17/17

I really enjoyed this book. Some of the pages were difficult to read because of the bad things that people do to each other. I enjoyed the character development but wish it was a little shorter so there... (read more)

by gallel00 (see profile) 04/14/17

by SUPERMOM2 (see profile) 04/14/17

I could not put this book down, It put a whole new perspective on my way of looking at the world, You think the world has grown and changed, but it runs deep in our veins. I found myself looking at how... (read more)

  "Great read + great discussion"by tnewman123 (see profile) 04/12/17

This book goes on the list with our other highly rated books. What a discussion we had. What a great book to get you thinking and talking. This one will stay with me for a long, long time.

by carmi.mooser@airwood.ca (see profile) 04/07/17

by susan.allen@live.ca (see profile) 04/06/17

by bpsquared@gmail.com (see profile) 04/05/17

  "Small Great Things"by Adelaide (see profile) 04/01/17

A good story while inspiring each of us to search our own prejudices.

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