Jodi Picoult Books Reading Group. discussion

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Books Under Discussion > Small Great Things Read Along **Spoilers Included***

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message 1: by Rachael (last edited Nov 10, 2016 06:38PM) (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
We are going to do this discussion a little differently than we have done discussions in the past. I'm planning on the actual discussion starting on October 23rd to give people time to get their copy of the book. If you are unable to participate in the discussion right away it will be available even after the discussion has ended and we would love to hear your opinion.

I'm going to assume the page number in everybody's copy is the same. All pages I chose are at the end of chapters.

October 23-October 29: pg 0- pg 104 Rachael
October 29-November 5th: pg 104- pg 187 Chelsea
November 6th- November 12th:pg 187- pg 271 Ashlee
November 20th- November 26th: pg 271-pg 378
November 28th- December 3rd: pg 379- End pg 458 Lorri


I'm looking for volunteers to come up with discussion questions during this week. You can post your discussion questions for the entire section around Wednesday to Thursday to have time to discussion before we start the next section. As usual you are more than welcome to read ahead just be careful of spoilers. Let me know in the comments if you would like to do discussion questions and which section you would like. There are no chapter numbers in this book, but it does switch between characters.


message 2: by Megan (new)

Megan | 10 comments Mod
I got my book and ready for the read along! Can't wait for the discussions to come and thanks Rachael for getting everything organized :)


message 3: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Campbell | 31 comments Mine will be here tomorrow ! :)


message 4: by Lorri (new)

Lorri Williams | 14 comments I am ready for the read along!! I was so excited to receive the book!


Robyn Bontrager | 5 comments I just started the book last night and I love it already! Can't wait to start discussing!


message 6: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments I got my book! I am currently reading "The Accident Season" but I will be done in time to start this on the 23rd! :)


message 7: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
Chelsea volunteered for the second part. I'm still looking for volunteers for the rest of the book. Excited to start the discussion!


Robyn Bontrager | 5 comments Do you know if the page numbers will coincide with the kindle edition of the book?


message 9: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
Robyn wrote: "Do you know if the page numbers will coincide with the kindle edition of the book?"

Can you tell me does the kindle version have the same page numbers. If only I could see the kindle version without buying it and then I could check.

The first section is at the end of a Turk Chapter

My guess will be no these page numbers will not be the same, but they should be close. I wish there was chapter numbers. I always chose the end of a chapter in the hardcover book.


message 10: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
Hello All I'm so excited to start Small Great Things whether you are done with the book or just starting you are welcome to join the discussion. I want to use the page numbers as a guide, but don't feel like you have to stop at page 104 this week. You can keep going. We will only be discussing up to page 104, so if you feel like something you have to say may be a spoiler for other readers then feel free to hold that thought until next week.

I have my questions ready to go and I will start posting the first couple on Wednesday and we will see where our discussion goes from there.


message 11: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments Awesome, thanks Rachael! I have been on Goodreads for years but I admit this is the first time I am doing a read along. I am very excited. I started the book just last night. I work a lot and have two kids and I'm a full time student, so while I don't have a lot of uninterrupted time to read, I am really happy to be reading this with you guys. I'm on page 50 so far, it's a total page turner!


message 12: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Campbell | 31 comments I'm still trying to finish the book in on now before starting this (can't read two at once I'll get all kinds of confused lol) hopefully I can catch up shortly ! I'm working 10 hour days so it's making it hard to stay awake at night and keep my eyes open to keep reading ! Can't wait to start though !


message 13: by Lorri (new)

Lorri Williams | 14 comments has anyone read the short story prequel "Shine"?
I just did 46 pages... :)


message 14: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
Lorri wrote: "has anyone read the short story prequel "Shine"?
I just did 46 pages... :)"

Should this be read before or after reading the novel? I did not know it existed.


message 15: by Lorri (new)

Lorri Williams | 14 comments before
it is just a short story about Ruth as a child


message 16: by Robyn Bontrager (new)

Robyn Bontrager | 5 comments You don't have to read Shine to understand Small Great Things. It's good though!


message 17: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
Here's the first set of questions!

Do you think Turk's past gives him any right to judge Ruth before he even knows her?
Do you think Ruth acted appropriately to being removed from Davis' case?
Why do you think Brit supports her husbands actions?

I have two more questions, but I will put those on in a couple of days. I will put my answers below.


message 18: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
Do you think Turk's past gives him any right to judge Ruth before he even knows her?
I think what happened to Turk's family is horrible. I think I would have happened regardless of whether the person was black or white. Here is Ruth a person that has been a L&D nurse for a long time and she is a hard working nice person. He didn't even take the time to get to know her. He judged her off the color or her skin and believed that made her incapable of taking care of his son.

Do you think Ruth acted appropriately to being removed from Davis' case?

I think Ruth was very hurt by the actions of the family and her boss. She felt that she was being unfairly punished when she had done nothing wrong. I think in her case she reacted in a completely normal way.

Why do you think Brit supports her husbands actions?
So far I really don't understand Brit and I slightly wonder if Turk is somewhat abusive in the fact that he makes his wife afraid of him. If she was to go against him in this decision that maybe it would have a negative consequence in her case. I don't know for sure, but I just don't understand Brit and her point of view so far in the story.


message 19: by Robyn Bontrager (new)

Robyn Bontrager | 5 comments Do you think Turk's past gives him any right to judge Ruth before he even knows her?
I understand Turk's anger about his past, but he still doesn't have the right to judge Ruth. He should be more concerned about making sure his baby is getting good care. He has so much hate for Ruth-it's scary!

Do you think Ruth acted appropriately to being removed from Davis' case?
You know the phrase "kill them with kindness?" I was kind of hoping Ruth would do that. I understand her frustration, but I wanted her to make Turk & Brit regret their decision to turn her away.

Why do you think Brit supports her husbands actions?
I also wonder if Brit is being bullied or abused by her husband. Why on Earth would she support his actions? I don't get her. It will be interesting to learn more about her past.


message 20: by Ashlee (last edited Oct 28, 2016 06:51AM) (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments Do you think Turk's past gives him any right to judge Ruth before he even knows her?
ABSOLUTELY NOT. I love the book so far, but Turk is really getting under my skin. He had no right to judge Ruth before knowing her. I don't understand how he met a guy in jail who was black and he...dare I say *befriended* this person, so it's not like he doesn't know that he is capable of liking someone with a different color of skin. He didn't give Ruth a chance at all, and his inner monologue is infuriating.

Do you think Ruth acted appropriately to being removed from Davis' case?
Absolutely. She was hurt and upset, as anyone would be after being removed from a case due to the color of her skin. The book is set in modern time, so you would think that things like this (racist bigots) would be thinning by now, but Picoult is showing that it's very much a real issue in modern society. Ruth reacted better than I think most would have. Although I do feel bad that she is now thinking in ways she didn't before, such as when she saw a sea of white faces in the elevator, something that never would have stood out to her before, but thanks to Turk, now she's starting to segregate things in her head.

Why do you think Brit supports her husbands actions?
I can't say for sure yet, but I'm not thrilled with Britt right now anyways. Her character is dull and boring to me right now and how animated she got after Turk belittled Ruth just made me hate her even more. She probably supports Turks decisions because 1. she was raised by Francis and Turk and Francis have a lot of similarities..and 2. she is distraught right now and it's probably easier to let someone else handle the decisions at this point while she grieves the loss of her child.


message 21: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments Robyn wrote: "Do you think Turk's past gives him any right to judge Ruth before he even knows her?
I understand Turk's anger about his past, but he still doesn't have the right to judge Ruth. He should be more c..."


I think Turk and Britt are so set in their ways, even Ruth attempting to kill them with kindness would have been a futile attempt. After reading the birthday party scene where the pinata was a black person, I was sickened. Britt, her father, and Turk are all hardcore racists. I don't think anything is going to change them.


message 22: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments Rachael wrote: "Do you think Turk's past gives him any right to judge Ruth before he even knows her?
I think what happened to Turk's family is horrible. I think I would have happened regardless of whether the pers..."


I agree, Brit as a character isn't sticking out to me right now. I find her pretty dull right now, but I'm hoping (even though I dislike her and Turk) that her story line will pick up. I just read the birthday party scene which made me cringe even more in regards to Brit and Francis.


message 23: by Lorri (new)

Lorri Williams | 14 comments Do you think Turk's past gives him any right to judge Ruth before he even knows her?

No one has the right to judge people based on color, even with his past. I don't think Turk as a young kid was inclined to believe you should hate because of race. When reading what influenced him, the grandfather mainly I understood that along with such a lonely angry volatile childhood, how he became so prejudiced.

Do you think Ruth acted appropriately to being removed from Davis' case? Yes I can understand why she was so upset. I think she had every right to be. A very experienced nurse and asked to be removed from a case due to color. It is such a shame people do still feel this way.

Why do you think Brit supports her husbands actions?
She is as prejudiced as he is. She has never known anything different than white supremacy. Her Father is over the top!

I have two more questions, but I will put those on in a couple of days. I will put my answers below.

reply | flag *


message 24: by Lorri (new)

Lorri Williams | 14 comments Ashlee wrote: "Robyn wrote: "Do you think Turk's past gives him any right to judge Ruth before he even knows her?
I understand Turk's anger about his past, but he still doesn't have the right to judge Ruth. He sh..."


I agree the birthday party was horrifying, but was to show just how deep the racism in this family runs.
I will be surprised to find her abused, I just think she knows nothing else.


message 25: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Campbell | 31 comments I'm trying to catch up! I got to page 50 last night. Already very intense !!


message 26: by Chelsea (last edited Nov 03, 2016 01:43PM) (new)

Chelsea Campbell | 31 comments Okay so I'm caught up to the end of the first section

I guess all I can say so far is that I agree with everyone that I am a little curious about Britt's character she seemed like the abused wife at first but now she seems to be no different than her hot headed husband. I hate the "n" word with a passion! So Turk is certainly on my shit list at the moment... I would've been pissed as well if I were in Ruth's position. And how dare the hospital manager or whoever she was actually stand by these patients ludicrous wishes!!


message 27: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
If you were in Ruth's situation when Davis stopped breathing would you have done the same as she did? Do you believe she could have done anything differently?

This is my last questions. If are ready Chelsea you can start posting questions later this week. I'm almost done with section 2 if you would like me to post questions I can move you down to the next section.


message 28: by Lorri (new)

Lorri Williams | 14 comments If you were in Ruth's situation when Davis stopped breathing would you have done the same as she did? Do you believe she could have done anything differently?

Honestly I think if I had been Ruth, I would not have allowed them to leave me with the baby.
I know she didn't have much of a choice, but I would certainly have protested! or found someone to be with me, even an assistant or a janitor for that matter.

Given the circumstance I understand why she hesitated...
I guess you really don't know unless put in those shoes.


message 29: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments If you were in Ruth's situation when Davis stopped breathing would you have done the same as she did? Do you believe she could have done anything differently? I think she had a lot of inner turmoil. I probably would have done the same thing. You don't want to get in trouble for touching the patient, but you also don't want the patient to die because of a jerk father who hates you just because of the color of your skin.


message 30: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments Rachael- I am on page 268 now, and I would be happy to post some questions on Nov 6th for that section of the book.


message 31: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments Chelsea wrote: "Okay so I'm caught up to the end of the first section
How is everyone "replying" to comments and able to copy and paste the questions ?? I must be missing something :/

I guess all I can say so fa..."


It bothers me how Ruth's supervisor told Turk "We can't do that, it'd be discrimination" and then she turned around and did what Turk wanted anyways all because he threatened to throw a hissy fit. Let him throw one! And then let security haul his racists ass out! It bothers me that she showed no back bone at all, and that awful post-it note.


message 32: by Lorri (new)

Lorri Williams | 14 comments just finished the 2nd section, and going to move on to the third, I feel like this book has now captured me and I am ready to devour it! :)


message 33: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
You are on Ashlee. I will post questions for section 2 if needed and you can post for section 3.


message 34: by Chelsea (last edited Nov 03, 2016 01:41PM) (new)

Chelsea Campbell | 31 comments I can still do my section I'm on 150 and will be prob finished with the section by the end of the night .....

As of page 150, I am noticing how extremely judgmental Adisa is. She is about as racist to white people as Turk is racist of black people....

What are your thoughts ?


message 35: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Campbell | 31 comments I have finished the section! But I'm having a hard time trying to think of questions...


message 36: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
She is a really good example of Black people expressing racist attitudes towards white people and I think this is a huge problem today in America. I'm interested in her character and how she will affect the story.

Here's one question I thought of:
What do you think motivated Kennedy to want to get to know Ruth for more than 10 minutes as she would with a typical client?


message 37: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Campbell | 31 comments I agree with you. I believe that there's a reason that we're getting to know Adisa more I have a feeling she will certainly play a big role in the future...
not sure what motivated her to get to know Ruth but I am interested in how motivated she is to become Ruth's public defender or attorney whichever it is she will be


message 38: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Campbell | 31 comments Did anyone else find it hard not to smile/giggle at the cute story of how Turk proposed to Britt ? I almost told myself I couldn't possibly think that anything involving them is cute especially given how there first date went..... it angers me to read some of this and think how brave Jodi is to go out on a limb for a story like this..... incredible


message 39: by Lorri (new)

Lorri Williams | 14 comments Chelsea wrote: "Did anyone else find it hard not to smile/giggle at the cute story of how Turk proposed to Britt ? I almost told myself I couldn't possibly think that anything involving them is cute especially giv..."

yes I did, I think it was her why of humanizing him....


message 40: by Lorri (new)

Lorri Williams | 14 comments I am all finished now, what a fantastic novel, and the soul searching it creates.


message 41: by Lorri (new)

Lorri Williams | 14 comments Rachael wrote: "She is a really good example of Black people expressing racist attitudes towards white people and I think this is a huge problem today in America. I'm interested in her character and how she will a...
Here's one question I thought of:
What do you think motivated Kennedy to want to get to know Ruth for more than 10 minutes as she would with a typical client?

reply | flag *
"


I think Ruth's case touched her from the start, it wasn't you typical arrest that Kennedy was use to. I believe she knew this was much bigger and with her good heart wanted to make sure so could help her in the short term at the very least.


message 42: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments Chelsea wrote: "Did anyone else find it hard not to smile/giggle at the cute story of how Turk proposed to Britt ? I almost told myself I couldn't possibly think that anything involving them is cute especially giv..."

I couldn't find it cute simply because it was Turk and Brittany. Unfortunately. :(


message 43: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments Lorri wrote: "I am all finished now, what a fantastic novel, and the soul searching it creates."

Finished two days ago myself. Just...wow!


message 44: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments What do you think motivated Kennedy to want to get to know Ruth for more than 10 minutes as she would with a typical client?

I think Ruth stuck out to her because she wasn't a typical client for Kennedy. Something about the way she carried herself I think really stood out from the other people Kennedy represents which made her want to learn more.


message 45: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
Ashlee you are up for questions this week. I'm going to be playing catch up this week.


message 46: by Ashlee (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments my bad, I meant to add my questions today but I was out all afternoon. I will post them first thing in the morning. :)


message 47: by Ashlee (last edited Nov 07, 2016 03:58AM) (new)

Ashlee (ashlee_) | 83 comments Part 3 questions: *SPOILERS*
1. How do you feel about the lunch get together between Kennedy and Ruth, was it awkward and cliche when Kennedy said she doesn't see race, we're all just one race, the human one?

2. Do you agree with Ruth's sister, Adisa and all the things she says when her and Ruth go to the Bistro for lunch? Is she putting unnecessary doubt into Ruth's head about Kennedy, the "white girl lawyer" representing her?

3. Is Christina in the wrong for offering Ruth money? Since that's the only way *she* knows to try and help?

4. Is Wallace Mercy getting involved a good idea or will it hurt Ruth in Court?

5. When Kennedy has a realization that black jokes are a common staple in her holiday family get-togethers, do you think she is finally realizing the underlying prejudice that most people have but don't want to admit/don't realize?

*I finished the book last week but I am still looking forward to discussing the questions with you guys!


message 48: by Lorri (new)

Lorri Williams | 14 comments Ashlee wrote: "Part 3 questions: *SPOILERS*
1. How do you feel about the lunch get together between Kennedy and Ruth, was it awkward and cliche when Kennedy said she doesn't see race, we're all just one race, the human one?

absolutely awkward for them both, because of the whole case hinging on the race factor and neither of them really feel comfortable talking about it.

2. Do you agree with Ruth's sister, Adisa and all the things she says when her and Ruth go to the Bistro for lunch? Is she putting unnecessary doubt into Ruth's head about Kennedy, the "white girl lawyer" representing her?

I feel like Adisa is very racist against whites. I am not doubting her concerns, but she doesn't even know Kennedy.

3. Is Christina in the wrong for offering Ruth money? Since that's the only way *she* knows to try and help?

She offends Ruth, but I think she had good intentions, she knew Ruth needed money. However Ruth would have rather had her friendship and moral support

4. Is Wallace Mercy getting involved a good idea or will it hurt Ruth in Court? I think Wallace Mercy stirs up a lot of media attention that Ruth or any legal case doesn't nee.

5. When Kennedy has a realization that black jokes are a common staple in her holiday family get-togethers, do you think she is finally realizing the underlying prejudice that most people have but don't want to admit/don't realize?

I feel like Jodi is making us all see / realize underlying prejudices we all know about and just ignore.



message 49: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Campbell | 31 comments I will also be playing catch up!


message 50: by Rachael (new)

Rachael (rachaelc94) | 95 comments Mod
I have got super behind. Been so busy with teaching that I haven't had much time to read. I pushed back next week's discussion, so essentially there are no pages to read next week, so we can play catch up.


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