by Jodi Piccoult
Well besides being the luckiest Bookie in all of la la land, I got to meet Jodi Piccoult in person, when she was doing her tour for this multi-layered story, which I did not think I would enjoy so much as I did.
The night I met Jodi, I’m not gonna lie, I had not yet read the book. In downtown L.A., a night on my own felt more enjoyable than ever. All guests were greeted with wine at the door and endless cheese plate options were begging to be paired with the plethora of charcuterie that lay on my paper plate. As I found my seat, a goodie bag of “Small Great Things” surprises sat on my chair, while I patiently chit-chatted with fellow literary nerds about all things books.
When Jodi began to speak on the mic about this novel, I thought, “Holy moly…..” and then I thought, “Guacamole.” Just kidding. This book was clearly a serious topic, and I, as a J.P. fan, failed to do my homework. (I loved all her books prior, cried in some, and always valued her dedication as a writer to chum books out on the market like free bacon auctioned off on the sidewalk *P.S. Has that ever happened to you before?).
I knew I was going to have to go home and immediately start reading. BUT! Not before I waited in line and asked what her favorite cookie was. “The Book Cookie,” she said. (Pause.) Yeah right, I wish. She responded, “Chocolate Chip, the really soft, gooey kind.” Of course, she would describe it distinctively.
So, I walked in the door of my house after the event giddy as ever, unpacked my little doodad bag from the signing, stared a little, clicked and unclicked my new pen a few times, (ya know, just to make sure it was real), sat in my cozy recliner chair, and began to read.
Every time I ended a chapter of this book I had space left in my head to reflect. The topic and conflict were too textured to not. The layers of each character, page by page, peel off so uniquely, that by the end, each of them is completely exposed and there is nothing left to wonder about.
In true Jodi fashion, we dive deep, and I mean, deep into the definition of true character perception and analytics. Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse who ends up in the worst situation known to man, which made me wonder, if this has truly happened to someone before. She is restricted from helping a specific family, who, as revealed to us throughout their own inner dialogue, are a family of white supremacists, and forbid Ruth, who is a successful and educated African American to perfom a routine checkup on their newborn child.
The following day, the baby, whom Ruth is forbidden to touch, as stated by her nurse superior, goes under cardiac arrest, while Ruth is the only nurse keeping watch of the baby in the room.
(Sighhhhhhhh) we begin the stickiness of topics ranging from ethnic values, to the court of law, white supremacy, to stereotypes, moral ethics and beyond! I mean, the amount of research Jodi had to do for this book, makes me dizzy just thinking about it. She does a superb job of embodying patterned responses between one another with the characters as if you’re literally watching these people share their lives in front of you. And! the entire time I was thinking, “Shoot, I have empathy for both sides!” But, then you love and hate each rising conflict for its own relatable reasons. Ugh, I was hugging my pillow one minute and throwing it across the room the next.
The best part about Small Great Things: A Novel, is anyone reading this book, based on where you were born, how you were raised, what you have experienced and been exposed to as a human, will all have a different perception, view, and opinion after reading this book.
This book is a work of art. A long, multi-faceted, well-rounded, and controversial work of art. It’s GREAT for a book club read. It could rabble all kinds of debates, especially among opinionated folk, who stand strong for what they believe in.
The supple ground for mere opinions while reading this book leaves room for a budding debate of all kinds. If you don’t debate this plot with someone you know, no worries because you will 100% debate all sides of perception within yourself.
I wish I could have read this with my high school students. It’s a great topic to discuss, analyze, and learn from.
Thinking about stressing until you read this book? Get it here. Small Great Things: A Novel
Also, it’s now in the works to become a movie with Viola Davis & Julia Roberts so you HAVE to read it now!
“Equality is treating everyone the same. But equity is taking differences into account, so everyone has a chance to succeed.” – Ruth Jefferson, Jodi Piccoult, Small Great Things
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” – Kennedy, Jodi Piccoult, Small Great Things
Finding the Break: A Surfer’s Anthology By Murray Lee An Anthology of short stories…