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Small Great Things: A Novel

#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

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Anonymous says:

I saw myself in this story As a “successful middle-class” African-American woman I was truly stunned to recognize so many aspects of my own life in Ruth. I have read every Picoult book – some twice – but never have I had my own experiences articulated so effectively by someone who isn’t a person of color. I finished it yesterday morning and was rattled all day by the insights and depth of honesty revealed here. I still am, but had to take a moment to post everywhere and say THANK YOU!! Jodi, I read your…

Anonymous says:

Jodi Picoult’s SMALL GREAT THINGS. This book is so riveting as it … Gripping. Powerful. A story that needs to be told. From two different perspectives. One that is almost unbearable to read. Actually, both are very difficult to read, but in different ways. One character’s life makes you think not only of her outlook but forces you to truly take an introspective look. From another’s viewpoint as well as how you look at the world. While you are reading it, it is hard to imagine that it was written by a white, female author. Jodi Picoult’s SMALL GREAT THINGS. This…

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