- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 16 hours and 15 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: October 11, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01JKDTTSQ
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Small Great Things: A Novel Audiobook – Unabridged
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I imagine some people will be doubters. How could the author possibly understand this situation, even if she is writing fiction. I have read interviews about the depth of research that she put into this book. She is not claiming to be an expert. She based it on a true story. The title comes from a line in a famous speech of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s: If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
The story is about a nurse, no ordinary nurse, but one who is dedicated and well regarded, with a twenty-year career at the hospital where ‘the incident’ occurs. A husband and wife have just had their first baby. When the nurse comes into their room, to take over the shift of another labor and delivery nurse, upon seeing her, the parents, who are white supremacists, see that she is black and immediately request to see her supervisor, whom they tell, in no uncertain terms, that this woman is not to touch their baby. What unfolds next is a devastating. Both of their lives take a turn neither could have predicted. The story is told from both sides. Heartbreak from the nurse’s and mistrust of everyone she encounters. She has noticed this before or rather, has worked hard to rise above it, but now it is all surfacing and cannot be ignored. The extremely racist man is angered to the point of revenge and his wife is shattered and taken to bed and depression.
Some books make you think. Some books turn you to a fantasy world. Some books make you step outside of yourself and think how others feel. SMALL GREAT THINGS makes you think, step outside of yourself, take another's perspective, and re-think your beliefs, and step outside of the fantasy world you have been living in, where all people are treated equally. It is both disturbing, heartbreaking and enlightening.
I commend Picoult for taking on the writing of a potentially controversial subject and for tackling it with a story that has great depth and feeling.
This book is about Ruth, a widowed African-American nurse, who is also a single mom. She loves her job as a labor-delivery nurse in a small hospital. She worked there for 20 years and never had a problem until one day, when someone requested that she doesn't take care of their baby because of her race. This request eventually led to a series of events where Ruth finds herself questioning the system she has lived in all of her life, worked in and everything she believed in.
Kennedy is Ruth's lawyer, a public assistance lawyer who took on the case, determined to win the case for Ruth. As the case winds on, Kennedy finds herself questioning the status quo and realizes that not everything is as black and white as it may seem in the real world.
Turk, the white supremacist father, who was so aggrieved at the loss of his baby son needed a scapegoat for his rage and sorrow. He chose to file against Ruth, whom he thought murdered his baby. He shares his backstory; raised by a grandfather who was angry at the world; taught him self-defense. Turk then gets involved with different skinhead groups and met his wife at one of those rallies.
This novel is filled with backstories of each of the main characters. Sometimes, some of the stuff being said is uncomfortable, but it is definitely thought-provoking. If there is a time to be discussing race, now is the time to start. This book is a start for those who want to learn a little bit more about what it is like on both ends of the spectrum. Most people would consider themselves to be in the middle, until something happens and they find themselves on opposite ends of the issue. It is an eye-opener, even for the reader. Picoult weaves her way through this story delicately as well as making her points without beating someone on the head with the truth.
Out of all of her books, this one is my favorite. There is no unlikable character in this book. Just unpleasant truths that reveal the decades-long apathy with history and with the truth of how things really are in this country. I hope this book will start conversations among friends and in book clubs. It is definitely a thought-provoking book.
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