Small Great ThingsJodi Picoult

Small Great Things

4.5 star

Total 3,318 Ratings

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult Book Summary

#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

Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult) Book Reviews

My favorite Jodi Piccoult bookThis was a fascinating, compelling read that truly makes one view the world around them differently. I am so happy I picked this book up..Score: 5/5

Thought provoking and timelyI found myself angry, upset, hopeful and inspired after reading this book. It held a mirror up in which I saw things about myself that I didn’t like. It opened my eyes to the ways in which I have been blind to the real world around me. This book started small, great changes in me..Score: 5/5

Everyone says she is a good author, but not by this bookI did not enjoy this book. Everyone agreed in the book club that if they had read this one first they would not read others of hers, but they have read others and liked them..Score: 1/5

Love’emLove Jodi Picoults books very eye opening with different perspectives..Score: 5/5

Excellently WrittenNO SPOILERS It took me a while to get through this book not because it wasn't exceptional but because I'm trying to balance life. I loved it. I loved that it opened every angle you could possibly think from when it comes to race. I love that it teaches you how perspective is everything but most of all I love How Jodi Picoult was not afraid to dig in to this fully and openly interviewing different races and taking different perspectives and doing the footwork needed to get a great big message out throughout this novel. Those who think that she has no footing to writing about this topic from "white, privileged, well to do" perspective haven't read the authors note. As every book she writes, it touches the depths of your soul and keeps you reading for more. This book is not supposed to change your views on anything but it will allow you to see views of every characters positioning layed out. She literally went from being my favorite author to me wanting to now read ONLY her books 😂😂 forever... lol I recommended for everyone to read it whether you are a health care professional or a construction worker. Whether you are green, blue, brown, or yellow you should read it. Whether you love reading or hate reading you too should read it! Enjoy! “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. —NELSON MANDELA, LONG WALK TO FREEDOM” #jodipicoult #smallgreatthings #bookreview #fivestars #nospoilers #bookstagram.Score: 5/5

Small Great ThingsExcellent book. Hard to put down..Score: 5/5

Highly recommendAn uncomfortable read that you can’t put down.Score: 5/5

It wasn’t bad...This book kept me interested enough to finish it, so that’s worth 3 stars right there. However, Just about every character was unlikable and unbelievable, i found I really didn’t care about any of them. The story line was pretty far fetched and hard to believe..Score: 3/5

SpectacularAbsolutely excellent! A must read for anyone and everyone. It will have you assessing your prospective on life for the better. This could not have come at a better time in society..Score: 5/5

One of her bestI was riveted from beginning to end!.Score: 5/5

Amazing read!!A must read!.Score: 5/5

WowGreat book to read. Stunning..Score: 5/5

Racism isn’t only prejudiceA very thought provoking book. I never really considered that my accomplishments in life came on the backs of others who never had a chance to begin my journey. A black nurse working in a white hospital is accused of murder when an infant in her care dies. The nurse had not really realized the racism around her until she was thrown to the wolves. This is A very well written book that I would highly recommend.Score: 5/5

Small Great ThingsWow! I loved this story. Thank you,Jodi, for always writing books that I cannot predict the ending. You always take me by surprise. 😊 I wish all your books would be made into movies..Score: 5/5

Great Book!I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I love the different perspectives of how race is expressed through each character. I would love to see this book as a movie!.Score: 5/5

Small Great ThingsThought provoking topic and a good story, makes for a good read..Score: 5/5

Small great thingsThe best book I have read in years..Score: 5/5

AmazingOne of the most profoundly moving, insightful and important books I’ve ever read.Score: 5/5

Small great thingsExcellently written book about our perceptions of differences based on appearance alone. Great read!.Score: 5/5

Powerful BookThis is the first book I’ve finished reading in the past 5 years. I always wanted to read books but “ never had time” to finish reading one until I started to read this one - small great things. I just couldn’t stop reading it. The novel describes couple of characters who have different but strong personalities. From them, I learned not only the racial differences but more importantly, how to be a better self, no matter who you are..Score: 5/5

Thought ProvokingThis novel, told from the points of view of its three main characters is both disturbing and enlightening. It shows not only how wide the gap racism creates but also how unaware many of us may be of our own racism. It is filled with surprises and events that make each of us question our own beliefs..Score: 5/5

Excellent book if you want to understand racismOne of THE best books that I have read (and I belong to a book club!). As a black woman, I felt that Jodie really understood the black experience and racism. I am going to recommend this book to my book club!.Score: 5/5

The first of many...I loved this book, the authors rate truths and the wonderful ironic ending 🥰 This was my first of many Jodi Picoult books.Score: 5/5

Page TURNERAbsolutely in LOVE with this novel. I urge you to read Small Great Things.Score: 5/5

Unbelievable charactersI forced myself to read maybe 1/4 of the book, then couldn't read any further. The characters have no dimension: either saintly or evil. While the plot could gave been riveting, the lack of believability ruined the book for me..Score: 1/5

Didn't want to go thereThis was my bookclubs pick and when I read the details I was so not interested. I hate the way racism is thrown all over the media and just didn't want to read a book about it. I couldn't have been more wrong. It was a great story, and a lesson for anyone with white privilege. But not a lesson in a preachy, down your throat way. The story braided these characters together beautifully and I saw myself in each one of them. I will see many things with different eyes. A great read that will lead to a lively book club discussion..Score: 5/5

Medically, legally and logically absurdDo not even know if I can finish this novel. Though initially gripping, once it states baby died from hypoglycemic incident but then went on to say the black nurse was to blame and it was a hate crime - really? No matter how far you stretch, that's totally medically, legally and logically absurd. Jodi Picoult is becoming desperate for sensational reading. Anyone with even the tiniest bit of medical or legal knowledge, or common sense for that matter, will have trouble stomaching this novel..Score: 1/5

Excellent ReadThis book had me captured from the first page to the last. I have always been a fan of Jodi Picoult but I think this is her best book to date. This book really did change how I look at racism. I can't recommend it enough..Score: 5/5

Great readGreat read!.Score: 5/5

A great readThis was an excellent book. I couldn't put it down. Very thought provoking. A must read!!.Score: 5/5

Thank youThank you Jodi for showing me just how privileged I have been all my life and just taking it for granted…. ( I’m a 75 year old white woman) I actually felt embarrassed looking back on all the things I had given to me just for that reason…. and didn’t even realize it until Black Lives Matter and now again … even more after reading your book. At first I was gonna stop reading it because of Turks language … I’m glad I read it til the end. Thank you for bringing so much awareness to me and I’m sure so many other people..Score: 5/5

One of the best books Ive read.It draws you to the characters and you find yourself wondering what will happen next every two minutes!! Jodie never disappoints!.Score: 5/5

Engaging but also off puttingWhile I have to admit the book was difficult to put down, overall I was turned off by the political narrative and hyperbolic over generalization of racial issues. I read as an escape rather than a scolding on white privilege and a leftist agenda being pushed on the reader. It’s painfully obvious that a white person wrote the book and is assuming the perspective of a black person living in America today. If I had know there was going to be so much political commentary I would have avoided it..Score: 2/5

5 starsSuch a phenomenal book. It illuminates modern day issues with a touch a humor and does not fail in maintaining ones interest..Score: 5/5

By far the bestBook I’ve read in a long long time.Score: 5/5

Small Great ThingsNot so small at all! What a wonderful story of determination, love, race, hate and accomplishment. One to be talked about for years to come!.Score: 5/5

Blown Away🕯 BOOK REVIEW: Woah...this book covers some sensitive controversial topics in a powerful way. Small Great Things is my first Jodi Picoult book and I definitely will be reading more of her work. Why? Because it made me THINK, it made me feel big uncomfortable feelings and examine the reason why I’m experiencing them. This book is not a light read. I tore into this book and it tore into me. My gosh, it really made me process racism and bias in our country and examine the perspectives of all those it touches. Having worked as an RN and personally helped to deliver babies into this world, I felt a deep connection to the medical element of the story and it was fun to step back into that world through a book. The author really nailed it and did her research. In the first chapter, you discover the reason why Ruth became a labor and delivery nurse...and it’s not what you may have guessed it would be, but it is so moving it made my eyes tear up. I really enjoyed the court scenes and found the legal aspect fascinating, too. I came across some of the most profound and beautiful quotes in this book, as well as some of the most difficult to read excerpts with concepts that made me feel so furious, disgusted, and frustrated. At times my heart felt tender and hopeful and at others my stomach was in knots. This is a book that will stay with me for the rest of my life, for better or worse. It was a thought provoking, eye-opening, challenging read that was extremely well written. Stay tuned, there is a movie starring Viola Davis and Julia Roberts coming out and you’ve got plenty of time to read the book first! It was very hard to stomach the perspective of the white supremacist, but it also opened my eyes to the reality and severity of hate that exists in the world. I truly feel this would be a relevant and beneficial educational read for current high school and college students to discuss within class to promote racial awareness. It’s enlightening and written in such a captivating way that it completely engulfs you. This book was worth pushing through the discomfort to reach the end when I could fully reflect and realize just how much I learned and discovered about my own self in the process. Outstanding..Score: 5/5

Loved itThis book took me on an emotional roller coaster of a difficult topic. It made me question everything and gave me insight into how people of color feel and what they deal with daily. I've been aware of obvious racism but this book pointed out more subtle everyday racism that I never noticed or considered. It was a difficult read at times especially the hate exhibited by the white supremacists and the pain of losing a child. The book is so well written from different characters perspectives and kept me on the edge of my seat start to finish. I very much enjoyed it and appreciate the knowledge and insight I gained and subsequent soul searching I have done working toward being a better person more sensitive to other people's feelings. I highly recommend this book..Score: 5/5

Big important things in lifeWell written, although difficult to read about how people can hate. It’s the reality we live in and as a brown person of color, I can relate to Ruth. Glad I finally read this!.Score: 5/5

Small Great ThingsA great perspective on racism in our country..Score: 5/5

Not my favoriteJodi Picoult is my favorite author and I have loved each and every one of her books, with the exception of this one. I thought I would especially love this book because I am a nurse too. I wanted to like this book so much, hoping it would get better as if went on, but I was greatly disappointed..Score: 2/5

RelevantBeautifully written. Great characters. Endearing protagonist. Very relevant and entertaining. Thought provoking..Score: 5/5

Excellent Read that invokes deep emotionsAs a nurse of 34 years, this books grabbed me. The hate and the white supremacist embarrassed me as a white person. This book also opened my eyes and caused me to re-examine my beliefs, biases and caused a deeper understanding that I have by virtue of my skin color been privileged in ways I may never have understood before. Thank you!.Score: 5/5

Gifted writer but….Such a talented story teller and captivating story but I don’t choose a novel to be made to feel guilty and sinful for being white. If this is your need for penance and contrition and self flagellation then this book is for you. The author got me when she had to call out certain politicians and News medias by name. She could have refrained from that and softened her liberal, CRT stance..Score: 3/5

GreatI have never read one of her books I didn’t like but this one was fantastic. I couldn’t wait to get home at night to finish it. The characters and feelings in this story were powerful. Definitely worth reading, like all her other books..Score: 5/5

WowThis is probably one of the best books I've read in a very long time. This is the real conversation..Score: 5/5

Small Great ThingsExcellent! ! ! My favorite so far. She does an awesome job of portraying two diverse characters on opposite sides of a ever present issue of racism and extremist beliefs..Score: 5/5

An easy 5 starsI could not put this book down. The perspectives in this book are so well done. I hope more stories like this come from Picoult..Score: 5/5

Wow.Picoult has answered many of the questions I have had but never knew who or how to ask. The answers come in a way that I have been able to internalize them. I feel shaken in many ways, and as soon as I finished, I started reading it over again because there was still so much I didn’t feel like I ‘heard’ well enough. The opening quote of Benjamin Franklin “Justice will not be served untill those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” Meant something completely different to me after the first reading. I read 7 - 10 books a week and have to say this is the first book this year that I have read twice, or written a review of..Score: 5/5

Insightful and well toodI enjoyed the way the story was told in this book, from the perspective of each of the main characters. The heavy topic of the book was well told with clear and relatable characters on each end of the perspective. My only criticism is that the ending felt rushed and sloppy. Otherwise a great read..Score: 5/5

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