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review 2017-08-11 01:02
Small Great Things
Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult,Audra McDonald

 

 

Ruth Jefferson has been a neonatal nurse for over 20 years, at a small hospital in New Haven, CT.  She is a great nurse who loves her job.  During a routine newborn check, she is startled when the baby boy's father, Turk Bauer, insists on speaking with Ruth's supervisor, who subsequently informs her she is not to care for or even touch this young patient again.  The Bauers are white supremacists, and Turk has requested that no one who "looks like" Ruth touch the baby.  Ruth is African-American..

 

After having worked a double shift, Ruth is asked to watch over the baby, Davis Bauer, who has just undergone a routine circumcision and needs to be observed.  Because an emergency c-section has pulled all other available personnel away, Ruth is the only left to do so.  When he goes into cardiac distress, she faces the impossible choice of complying orders by doing nothing or defying them to administer to him.

 

When there is a adverse event, Ruth becomes a target and faces serious criminal charges.  The public defender assigned to her case is Kennedy McQuarrie.  The book has as its three first-person, present-tense narrators Ruth, Kennedy, and Turk.  The audiobook has three separate narrators for these roles, which I found really effective.  The book takes on race issues in a way that honors and explores the complexities associated with it, as the characters all recount their perspectives, and they all go through their own complicated journeys.  This is my second Jodi Picoult novel, after Leaving Time, and she's definitely become a favorite author.  She has a way of writing books I want to climb into so I can shut out the outer world until I'm done.

 

I had some uncanny timing with this book.  I'd placed a hold on the downloadable audiobook from my library's site ages ago. Just when I needed to make my "reader's choice" selection for my library's summer-reading program, this book finally became available.  

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review 2017-07-08 02:40
Beachcombers
Beachcombers - Nancy Thayer,Karen White

 

 

This was one of the recommended books for the "beach reads" week in my library's summer-reading program.  This is one of those books I probably wouldn't have chosen of my own volition, though I'm glad to have experienced it.  Its setting in Nantucket was nice, because I honeymooned there in addition to having other special vacations there.

 

The book is set in the summer of 2009; many characters are having financial problems because of the economy.  Fifteen years before, Danielle Fox drowned; whether the drowning was accidental or intentional,  no one knows for sure.  She left behind her husband Jim, a contractor, and three daughters--Abbie, who was 15 at the time; Emma, who was 13; and Lily, who was only seven.  As the oldest daughter, Abbie, stepped up as caretaker to her younger sisters.

 

As the book opens on its present-tense narrative, Abbie rushes home at Lily's urging, after having spent two years in London working as an au pair.  Lily's worried about Emma, whose fiance Duncan dumped her for another woman right around the time she lost her finance job in Boston.  Emma returned to the family home and took to her bed.  Lily's also worried about their father's business, as contracting jobs are becoming less plentiful.  He has rented out the guest cottage, aka "the playhouse," to Marina--whom she characterizes in an email to Abbie as a sexy woman who is after their father.  Six months earlier, Marina's husband Gerry and good friend Dara threw her a surprise party to celebrate her 40th birthday--only to reveal the next morning that they'd fallen in love and were expecting a baby.  Gerry wanted a divorce so he could marry Dara.  Gerry bought out Marina's half of their ad agency and their condo, in Kansas City, MO.  Marina has rented out the cottage for a six-month term, to give herself the chance for a new start.

 

So there are multiple romances in this book, and I'm not usually a romance kind of girl.  But there was enough other drama going on to make this generally a fun, frothy read for me.  Sometimes, I became irritated with certain characters.  Okay, mostly Lily.  At times, she acted more like a toddler than a 22-year-old, but this was somewhat explained by her sisters having babied her--and she does go through a trajectory.  There's some insta-love here, and I'm not generally a fan of that.  But fortunately, things weren't 100% wrapped up with a neat bow.  More like 85%.

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