(March 18, 2017) Book Discussion: Small Great Things


SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 2017, 2:30-4:30PM
REDWOOD SHORES LIBRARY, REDWOOD CITY, CA

Join us for a discussion of Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things, a novel that tackles race, gender, privilege, white supremacy and the legal system.

RSVP HERE

About the Book (from Goodreads):

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 complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

From an interview with Picoult about the book:

“I talk all the time in my books about subjects that people don’t really want to talk about,” she says. “But to me, this feels different. I think racial awareness is one of the most pressing conversations that we really need to have in our country, and it’s something that a lot of people don’t want to talk about because it makes them uncomfortable.”

“You can’t turn on the news or open Facebook or Twitter without seeing some evidence of the fact that racism and racial awareness in our country are very important and contentious issues,” she says. “This is not only a topic in the news, but a topic that is weighing pretty heavy on a lot of people’s hearts. And although I am not the one who’s going to come up with an easy answer to solve it, I know that a lot of my research for this book reminded me that racism is both systemic and institutional, but it’s perpetuated and dismantled in individual acts.”

“And that’s one of the reasons that I think it’s so important to have this conversation with my readers. Because even the things that feel the most overwhelming to us, in terms of issues, are often things that we can make personal adjustments about and somehow, in doing that, make the world a slightly better place.

 


The meeting space is provided as a community service by the City of Redwood City. The City neither sponsors nor endorses this event nor the presenting individual or organizations.