logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: small-great-things
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-04-01 17:37
Small Great Things -- My Unpopular Opinion & Female Mansplaining
Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

Though this has the qualities I associate with fiction, it felt a lot like being forced to listen to a room full of college kids who just read Nietzsche for the first time and come home to perform that knowledge for hours *at* me - without asking 1) if I already know this, 2) if I care to listen to all of their newfound knowledge, and 3) if I agree with their strong opinions.

 

That's how I felt for much of the second two sections of this book (and I won't even go near the author's note that follows -- beyond saying that it's the best example of mansplaining a woman could hope to portray.) I have no problem with a white writer writing a person of color. I do have a problem with a fiction that is only thinly disguised "racial sensitivity 101" built on a cadre of stereotypical "types." I felt like Jodi Picoult took a class (and I was right - she did!), saw the light, feels woke, got serious, and set out to explain it all to all of us, without asking us to join in the conversation - or what we could hope to bring to it - much like an author who assumes you don't know any of the big words she uses. It was the long passages of internal dialogue that killed this book dead for me. The "aha" moments that took up pages and pages and then more pages repeatedly were so awfully serious and so awfully lecture-like, they could have been lifted from racial sensitivity 101 -- which made them completely unbelievable because as we teach in those classes, changing one's racial mindset takes a long time and is an internal process that cannot be done through thoughts alone. Practice will help, awareness is key, but no change like this happens overnight. I've taught those classes, and they sound just like this book, with the caveat I just made about changing (even when you start out as a stereotype, like every single character in this book.) Nonfiction exists for a reason. I thought this was a story - not a lecture, but I was wrong. Jodi Picoult doesn't realize that she's become the white savior that Kennedy is supposed to portray.

 

The book felt extremely condescending to the reader. Picoult should now wait while I go take a class on writing, interview a few writers, then I will type my long, heartfelt, dissertation length "aha" moments in a story and she should be FORCED to read my new feelings about writing. Because that's just about how ridiculous the inner dialogue of her characters sounded to me.

Two books I can recommend to Picoult or anyone else who actually cares about race and all the feelings white people are now having that I've read this year that cover similar topics: So You Want to Talk about Race  and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race. If you want to go deeper, there are so many better books, both fiction and nonfiction.

 

The story's basic foundation could have held up a lovely tale. Picoult got indulgent with her newfound awareness and had her characters thinking and behaving in unrealistic ways to cram more of that knowledge into their heads, then she polished it off with an ending torn from a Disney Princess's wishbook. It all became very trite and downright silly by the end.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-03-13 20:51
This is a good one!
Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult
GREAT SMALL THINGS by Jodi Piccoult
I haven’t read any Piccoult for a while (a little tired of the “disease of the month” rut she seemed to be in), so I had avoided this book also. But I kept hearing really good things about it. People who didn’t read Piccoult LOVED it. So, I gave it a shot.
All those good things I heard were true. This is a good book! The tale revolves around an African-American nurse. She is a good nurse with a sterling reputation until she is Labor and Delivery nurse to the wife of a white supremacist. This IS a Piccoult book, so, of course, something terrible happens to the baby. Now the tale becomes sympathetic (yes, sympathetic) portrayals of a white, racist, perfectly awful man, his white racist, perfectly awful wife and a here-to-for unbiased, wonderful person African-American nurse and her honor roll student , off to Yale son.
You will learn more medical jargon than you ever wanted to know and, maybe, discover a few of your own biases and prejudices. This is a good story, well told, that will keep you wondering about yourself until the final pages.
5 of 5 stars

 

Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-09-06 00:00
Small Great Things
Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult This is quite a book. An important read for those of us who are trying to understand issues or racism, especially the advantages our white skin have bestowed upon us (unless, of course, we're not white). The book jumps back and forth. Between the points of view of Ruth Jefferson, a nurse who works in L&D (labor and delivery); Turk Bauer, a white supremacist whose child died shortly after birth; and Kennedy McQuarrie, a young white lawyer who works in the public defender's office, because her eye-surgeon spouse makes enough money for the both of them.

The issue revolves around the birth of one Davis Bauer, Turk's son. Turk insisted that no black nurse should be allowed to touch his new-born son. But, there's a medical emergency c-section, and the nurse attending Davis, was called away and left Ruth to watch over Davis. Davis begins having medical problems. Ruth tries to resuscitate him, but stops when she hears her supervisor walking down the hall, the supervisor who wrote the orders that Ruth was not to touch the baby.

So, seeing a medical emergency, all hands are on deck, so to speak, and Ruth is given the job of chest compression, to keep the heart pumping while they try to restore the baby's breathing. The baby dies and Turk, who came into the room blames the black nurse for being too vigorous. He swears out a complaint against Ruth, and the hospital throws her under the bus, so to speak.

So, we have findings, the trial, and so forth. Ruth gets a nice middle-class, white public defender, who really doesn't understand racism. Basically, Ruth schools Kennedy. So, along with the trial, we learn quite a bit about the problems of white racism, our ignorance of the basic issues. We understand the overt racism, but not how our institutions have been designed to disadvantage people not born in a white skin.

It's all quite fascinating. I have been slowly learning about this stuff for a number of years now, but it's good to get different perspectives and looks. Then too, it's particularly important that we learn about these things given that we have recently installed a racist in the White House (not to mention a racist as Attorney General). Shame on us all.

Interesting, just a week after I finished this book, the guy who first tried to school me on the issues of white racism, Horace Seldon, passed away. Horace will be greatly missed, he was a true gem of a person.
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
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.  

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-08-06 15:49
Adding-book woes
Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult,Audra McDonald

 

 

So I just added this book, because of course my edition didn't exist yet (here or on Goodreads).  And I am so sick of adding editions but too OCD to shelve anything other than my exact edition.  And once again (this happened the last couple times that I added editions), I got a "524" timeout error.  So you wouldn't actually know that the edition has been successfully added, except that the other times I got this, it turned out that despite the error, I'd completed the edition add.  And so too, have I done so just now.  I just wish it were smooth and easy like this:  I enter my ISBN into the search box, and...  The book exists!  And I shelve it.  BOOM!  But no....

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?