Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (3 Stars)


Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, this book received so many 4 and 5 star reviews, but I’m only giving it 3.

The topic is racism, and it’s a heavy book to read.  The book is told from 3 perspectives:  that of Ruth, the black nurse accused of murdering a newborn; Turk, the white supremacist father of the newborn; and Kennedy, the white public defender for Ruth.  The plot is interesting, the characters are well-developed, the writing style is great.  So what’s the problem?

Well, instead of guiding me and making me examine feelings, thoughts and actions from my perspective or from another’s, the book was written with a heavy hand.  The social commentary comes across as preaching, and just whacks you over the head.  It describes whites and blacks as being so different from each other, so untrusting of each other, and so judgmental of each other, the conclusion is we can never get along.  I don’t believe that, nor do I want to believe it.

Without spoiling it, I will say the ending was way over the top and unbelievable.

Overall, it’s not a bad book, but it’s not a great book.  There are parts that will make you think, then there are parts that are so stereotypical they lose credibility.  But I love the quote that the title is taken from:

If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way. Napoleon Hill


2 thoughts on “Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (3 Stars)

  1. I loved the book until I thought about the issues and read more from the author on the subject and regardless of good intentions I do not get a sense of inclusiveness from her message. I haven’t altered my rating or review of the book, but I don’t think this book is the beacon I hoped it would be.


  2. I agree with you, the book could have been a great eye-opener. The story was compelling, and at times Ruth was great at subtly pointing out to Kennedy what she experienced on a daily basis, such as on their shopping trip. At other times, it was so heavy-handed. Sometimes it is better to be led down the path to discovery than to be dragged. The book was thought-provoking, but fell short of my expectations also.


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