There be spoilers ahead. You have been warned!
I was lucky enough to receive this book (title now revealed to be ‘Small Great Things’) on NetGalley. It sounded fantastic – and it was.
The novel is about the accidental death of a newborn – it follows the black nurse who is being charged with murder, her white lawyer, and the father of the newborn who is a white supremacist.
This is so, so gripping. I didn’t actually realise how long it was, because I was absolutely speeding through it. As you can probably tell from the picture, it really reminded me of How to Get Away with Murder. It was technical about law and the court system, but also tackled deeply ingrained societal issues. And was fascinating, to boot.
This felt real in a way that I don’t think I’ve experienced before. This is a book that is clearly aware of real-life events and people, like Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland. There are differing opinions between the black characters about how to express and understand race, which I thought was very well done. In my hugely unknowledgeable opinion, this was just sheer truth in novel form.
It has also now been revealed that the author is Jodi Picoult, which hugely surprised me. I’d always assumed she mostly wrote tear-jerker chick-lit, which is not really my thing. I will admit, hearing that she wrote this really did challenge my assumptions about popular authors. However…I was very disappointed to see that this wasn’t an #ownvoice. For me, in my lack of experience in these issues, the discussion of racism and prejudice rang very true, and I was honestly shocked to see it had been written by a white woman. I really don’t know what to think of it, now.
What do you think? Is Jodi Picoult the right person to write this book?