Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Small Great Things” as Want to Read:
Small Great Things
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Small Great Things

by
4.35  ·  Rating details ·  193,812 ratings  ·  20,458 reviews
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 co ...more
Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published October 11th 2016 by Random House Audio
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Small Great Things, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Talisa Rafferty I don't know if I am bothered or pleased that some are finding this difficult to read. I hope that people read this and understand that this is what…moreI don't know if I am bothered or pleased that some are finding this difficult to read. I hope that people read this and understand that this is what real life is like. I am shocked that Jodi Picoult was bold and bright enough to take this head on.
Yes, the ending was a typical ending for one of her books, but I'll take it.
My son is only 2 and I worry so much about what his life will be like when he is a Black man in America. I worry about what will happen when he is no longer cute, and becomes scary. I worry about the day that shift happens and if I will be able to protect him.
I worry about my daughter fitting in and having the same issues that I did growing up and not feeling welcome on either side. I feel like the author really had a great take on this and it really goes to show the amount of research she puts into everything that she writes. (less)
Emmi I just read this on kindle. I felt the roller coaster of emotions was purposeful. I have lived in places to experience reverse discrimination. I…moreI just read this on kindle. I felt the roller coaster of emotions was purposeful. I have lived in places to experience reverse discrimination. I appreciated her attempt at opening eyes to how we treat each other. Maybe not perfect, what is? I feel changed after reading this book. She was brave to attempt this subject. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  193,812 ratings  ·  20,458 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
Emily May
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, contemporary, 2016
“The State just sees a dead baby. They’re targeting you because they think you failed as a nurse.”
“You’re wrong.” I shake my head in the darkness, and I say the words I’ve swallowed down my whole life. “They’re targeting me because I’m Black."

3 1/2 stars. I have some issues with the ending, but otherwise Small Great Things is such a pageturner. It's the kind of book you can easily stay up until 2am to finish (even without the teething infant to help you along). True, it's Racism 101 for white
...more
Tracey
I have tried to write this review several times. I guess I have a lot of thoughts about this novel.

My first thought is that Jodi Picoult did not write this for me. I don't know what the demographic is for Ms. Picoult's novels but being a book person for a long time and having been to a couple of her book readings, I think I can make a pretty accurate guess at the demographic that buys her novels. So this is a novel that was written for white women and it doesn't stray far from Ms. Picoult's othe
...more
Deanna
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...


I could probably write a twelve page review on everything I want to talk about from this book, everything I learned from this book. However, my reviews are long as it is so I will try my best to keep it short (well...shorter than twelve pages).

I have read every book by Jodi Picoult and they all make me think. As I've said before I always learn something too. But I feel like this book is the one that hit me hardest. I learned
...more
Tia
Nov 18, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have so much to say about how terrible this book is. I hated it. I hated it so much idk how I even finshed it. I don't think I've ever rolled my eyes this much while reading a book.

I am a black female medical student. The whole premise of this book is completely wrong. There is no way any medical professional was allowing a supervisor's rule prevent them from saving a patient in an emergency. We swear to do no harm and to act in the benefit of the patient. This would never happen, and if it di
...more
Melissa
4.5 stars

This is an incredibly heavy read—one that’s told with brutal honesty and a lot of heart.

My initial reaction after I read the final page of the story—why would she choose to end things on that note? After all of the hate and uncomfortable feelings throughout this story, how could things ever possibly be wrapped up in such a way? Never. No way. I wasn’t buying it. Then, I read the earnest note from the author following the story and cried my eyes out. I felt like Jodi Picoult had crawled
...more
Elyse Walters
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
THIS REVIEW IS SAFE TO READ ......NO SPOILERS. There is nothing in this review which isn't already suggested in the blurb.
I begin with an excerpt:

"Suddenly Roarke Matthews is standing in front of me. His suit is ironed
with knife-edge pleats, his shoes are buffed to a high gloss. He looks like a soap
opera star, except his nose is a off-kilter, like he broke it playing football in high school.
He holds out a hand to greet me. "Mr. Bauer, he says, why don't you come with me?"
"He leads me into a
...more
Debbie
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Oh dear, sigh sigh. I’m sad I didn't like this book more--I so wanted to. Lots of friends love Picoult, so I feel sort of like an alien, one standing at alert, with her handy but annoying Complaint Board right here front and center.

The story line drew me right in. A black labor and delivery nurse is accused by a white supremacist of murdering his newborn, and a very sympathetic and determined lawyer defends her. All three—Ruth the nurse, Turk the supremacist, and Kennedy the lawyer have their ow
...more
Angela M
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful book, bold in some ways , as we have a white author bringing to us a story depicting what racism looks like and trying to tell those of us who are not black, what it feels like . But anyone who has read any of Jodi Picoult's books knows that she doesn't shy away from difficult to discuss topics. I don't think very often about white supremacists . Maybe because there hasn't been much about them in the news on a regular basis (until recently) or maybe because it's so uncomfortab ...more
Lola
AVAILABLE NOW!!

Look up at the dark sky. See those stars? They all belong to Small Great Things.

The Small Great Things at the end is not the same Small Great Things it is at the beginning, meaning that so much is happening, so much is revealed that there’s no way to read the first chapter and predict the rest of the story.

Small Great Things has come a long way. So has Kennedy. So has Turk. So has Ruth. So has Edison. So has the world.

That’s how it should be. Doesn’t mean though, that we’re at the
...more
Brina
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jodi Picoult has been a best selling author for over twenty years. Twenty years ago she wanted to discuss a hot button issue but did not feel like she had the platform to do so. About a year ago, Picoult read where a black female nurse in Flint, Michigan had been dismissed by a white supremacist patient over skin color. Feeling that the time was right to discuss race, Picoult used this court case as a basis for Small Great Things, her current best selling novel.

Ruth Jefferson has been a labor a
...more
Will Byrnes
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
…every baby is born beautiful.
It’s what we project on them that makes them ugly.
A drop of water is a tiny thing. Only a twentieth of a gram. It takes almost six hundred drops to make an ounce, and a hundred twenty eight ounces to make a gallon. That gallon is eight pounds of weight. You can feel the weight of water when you stand on the beach and try to hold your place as waves push you back. It takes only six inches of moving water to take control of your car. If you could stand underneath Ni
...more
Susanne  Strong
Apr 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, favorites
4.5 Stars
Small Great Things.
Powerful. Thought-Provoking. Heartbreaking.

Ruth Jefferson is an L&D Nurse with 20 years of experience, working at a Hospital in West Haven, CT. She gets along well with all of her colleagues and all of her patients love her - that is until she assists Turk Bauer and his wife Brit with their new baby Davis. Turk and Brit are White Supremacists and they don't want Ruth touching their baby because she is black. Due to their feelings, Ruth is ordered by her supervis
...more
Jen
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a heavy heart starting this and it got that much heavier as I read. As much as it was not uplifting, there were moments of beauty here that made my heart swell.

This is a story about racism told from 3 perspectives: A black nurse not sure what choice to make; A skinhead who is sure of his choices; a defense attorney who is questioning her own choices.
A tough theme that still exists, sadly, in our culture. It's about justice - or injustice - and how is this defined? It's about the loss of li
...more
Brian
Aug 22, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
-This Review is Based on an Advanced Reading Copy--

A woman with frizzy hair stands in front of a giant wheel. On this wheel are many many social issues. She glances at the wheel and smiles and then begins to spin it, waiting for her inspiration. The wheel spins around and around and finally lands on “Amish.” The woman frowns a bit and realizes that she had already covered that topic. She spins the wheel again. “School Shooting” appears in the crosshairs. She frowns again and stamps her feet a b
...more
Mischenko
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, a great read from one of my favorite authors. The story felt very authentic to me and the topic, I'm so glad she covered. Tons of emotion. I listened to this on audible and enjoyed all the narrators.

I've read every one of Jodi's books and this is definitely one of my favorites. Very important authors note at the end...
Norma * Traveling Sister
Jodi Picoult is by far my most favourite author! She has done it again! The subject matter at times was hard to read as the story being told was very heartbreaking and disturbing but it was executed perfectly. This author always makes me think and I have always learned something new from reading one of her novels.

The novel was told in three voices that of Ruth, Kennedy & Turk. All three were very strong characters which all brought life to this story.

I love how Jodi Picoult finishes the sto
...more
Luffy
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jodi Picoult is a daring, talented author who knows how to write new stuff about age old controversies. She can write a male or female character with equal ease. In this book, she writes about Ruth, her grown son, and Jodi Picoult writes from the point of view of the racist father (I thought the 'clan' KKK would be prominent in this book), and her white lawyer who took up her case, Kennedy.

Jodi Picoult obviously believes that God is in the details. She cares for each sentence so much, that, she
...more
Lori
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a 'beast' of a novel for me... not in the sense that it was long, but in that it was a difficult topic. I, like Picoult, think of myself as not discriminating in how I treat people, however, the issues this novel raises had me questioning that. A very thought provoking novel that I think people need to read. As uncomfortable as it may be, these issues need to be raised and reflected on. We can all do "small great things."
Berit☀️✨
5 Real, raw, and brilliant stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This book is one of my top Reads of 2017 ......I read this book last January and it still sticks with me today, really a truly powerful story!

Jodi Picoult definitely writes books that make you think....

Not even sure where to start with this.... there is so much I want to say, but I don't want to ruin it for anybody...

The story was told from three different POVs... Ruth a nurse.... Kennedy A lawyer..... and Turk The white supremacist...

I think the author di
...more
Sheri
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2017
As always, Jodi Picoult does not disappoint. Other reviews have really done a stellar job telling you why you should read this book. I agree with them -- not just the good reviews, but some of the critical ones too. This book will make you think about the good, the bad, and the ugly. A fantastic read that I highly recommend!
Jaline
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xx2017-completed
In a crisis situation, a nurse makes a choice that ends badly – and we are left to wonder if it could have possibly gone differently. Given the circumstances, given the pressures and the conflicts between training and fear, any person’s mind is likely to go into paralysis even for a fraction of a second. Would that fraction of a second have influenced the outcome? This is the basis of the story Jodi Picoult weaves, but it is by no means all there is. Woven throughout the story and, in fact, inte ...more
Esil
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A high 4 stars. I've had mixed experiences with Jodi Picoult. I've loved some of her books, and found others to be real duds. This one goes in the positive pile. Picoult typically picks a social issue, creates a crisis situation and tells the story from the perspective of a few characters caught up in the crisis. When her books work, it's because she is able to create powerful characters who give real dimension to the issues the books grapple with. Small Great Things is one that worked for me -- ...more
Cheri
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
NOW AVAILABLE

We all have “preferences.” Men, women have a “look” they are drawn to. Blondes. Brunettes. Redheads. Tall. Short. Blue eyes. Skinny. Muscular. Even children, infants, long before they can understand or form words develop preferences, for people, sounds, and colors.

Color, the preference for specific “colors” is at the heart of this novel, or more specifically the intolerance for people who are a “different” color, or a “different” religion, a “different” lifestyle. Race, discriminati
...more
Max G.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I actually find this book a bit offensive. I get what Jodi Picoult is trying to do here but this story is rife with offensive stereotypes - angry Black sister, long-serving servant mama, flamboyant pastor, sassy transgender prostitute. All the same tired tropes I could find literally anywhere else.

But even worse is the thread of respectability in Ruth's story. She's the classic palatable Black person; light skinned, educated, inoffensive, widow of a veteran, doesn't colour all white people with
...more
*TANYA*
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-time-fav, own-it
OUTSTANDING!!!! This book is one of those books that is educating, jarring and inspirational. Kudos to Jodi for taking on the topic of racism and opening my eyes to things I wasn't aware of. I most definitely was schooled.

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way."
Lyn
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Racism is not black and white. It is not simply a matter of what is or is not; it is a matter of degree.

Jodi Picoult’s 2016 story about modern racism is masterfully crafted to describe this truism with a setting and themes that are unfortunately as relevant today as they would have been 40 years ago.

There are the white supremacists, described in the narrative as consumed and made cruel caricatures by their inherent hatred and on the other end of the spectrum there are the garden variety of passi
...more
Lauren Cecile
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Six stars!
Jodi Picoult has written an outstanding book and shows a keen insight into race, racism and race-related issues. The newborn baby of a white supremacist couple dies during the care of a respected black nurse who'd been told by her boss that she was not to "touch" the baby. She is subsequently dismissed from the hospital, charged with murder and represented by rookie public defenders at a tumultuous jury trial. Picoult weaves in just enough backstory to explain the motivations behind th
...more
Carol
The Hook - Jodi Picoult has been one of my adopted authors at our local library for many years. The adopted author program works like this:

Choose your favorite author(s) and agree to purchase a hardcover copy of all new titles published (usually only one per year).
· The library will purchase each title at our discounted price (about 45% off, approx. $15-$16 per book).
· When the book arrives at the library, we will process it and notify you that it’s ready for you to pick up and read!
· A bookplat
...more
Karen
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5
This was surely a timely and serious book. I did however, find it to drone on and on, so I found myself skimming through much of the book.
Suzanne
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I left it too long post reading to write this review. This is possibly a 4 star read for me. It is hard to rate. I listened to the audio. The narrator of Ruth made this for me. The voice was strong, calm and in control. The hard part for me is that it is written by a white woman, telling a story of a black woman's life. The author adds notes to the end of this book, and in this instance considering this is an audio book, is read by the author herself. She is passionate about this book, and it is ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Mentor Texts: Mentor Texts 1 2 Jan 07, 2019 10:42AM  
Play Book Tag: Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult - 4 Stars 3 18 Nov 25, 2018 03:01PM  
Ending 19 1031 Nov 18, 2018 10:14AM  
The Holdout (Possible Spoilers) 1 20 Nov 14, 2018 02:13PM  
  • The Underground Railroad
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette
  • Beartown (Beartown, #1)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • The Choices We Make
  • White Oleander
  • This is How It Always Is
  • Outside the Lines
  • Faithful
  • Dancing on Broken Glass
  • Glory Over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House
  • The Lost Wife
  • Love Anthony
  • The Guest Room
  • Lucky Boy
  • The Things We Keep
  • Little Mercies
47,857 followers
Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-four novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Small Great Things, Leaving Time, The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

Her new novel, A SPARK OF LIGHT, is available in hardcove
...more
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” 96 likes
“Equality is treating everyone the same. But equity is taking differences into account, so everyone has a chance to succeed.” 74 likes
More quotes…