Racism in America Book Review of Small Great Things

Racism Book Small Great Things by Jodi PicoultHave you ever left your home heading to work or to play, put the top down on your car and put on your rose-colored glasses, just to find out when you get to where you are going your glasses have been smacked off of your face, landed on the floor board of your car and when you picked them up, they aren’t the same? Parts of the glasses are missing and cracked; it is not at all what you expected.

‘Small Great Things’ by Jodi Picoult tackles current events as well as minute by minute courtroom drama that draws you into the lives of her characters. Although, some say racism doesn’t exist, ‘Small Great Things’ takes you on a journey you will never forget. Picoult introduces us to the African American nurse, Ruth Jefferson, who has been a labor and delivery nurse for more than 20 years. Ruth encounters white supremacist, Turk Bauer and his wife Brittany, when they come to her maternity ward to deliver their first son, Davis.   

Turk was more than a little irritated when he realized that the shift had changed and Ruth Jefferson was going to be their nurse. When he found out, he immediately asked to speak to her supervisor because he did not want her touching their son. However, the ward was short staffed and Ruth was asked to watch the Bauer’s baby boy so that others could attend to their patients.  In the midst of it all, all of a sudden, baby boy Bauer begins to turn blue.  Ruth knows that she is not to touch the baby.  So what should she do?  Does she hold up the oath that she swore by, or does she obey her supervisor and not touch the Bauer’s baby? Ruth makes a decision that finds herself in the fight of her life. Her nursing license is suspended and she is put on trial for the death of baby boy Bauer. Her only chance lies with a white female lawyer, Kennedy McQuarrie.

The author, Jodi Picoult, leaves a very candid and open authors note at the end of ‘Small Great Things’. She says that she wanted to write about racism in America, and details the research she did and the interview of women of color and skinheads. She realizes that she has white and class privilege. “We who are white need to have this discussion amongst ourselves. Because then, even more of us will overhear and — I hope — the conversation will spread.” –Jodi Picoult

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr once said, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” Now that you have taken off of your rose colored glasses and they are broken and shattered, look around you.  What do you see? What do you hear?  We are all human beings and everybody matters.  When things aren’t what you thought they were, what are you going to do about it?