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Looking for a thought-provoking audiobook that touches on current social issues? Look no further than “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult. This gripping novel explores themes of race, justice, and compassion through the lens of a high-stakes legal case.

In this audiobook review, we’ll dive into the details of Jodi Picoult’s powerful story and evaluate the narration that brings it to life. From character development to critical reception, we’ll cover everything you need to know about “Small Great Things.”

Key Takeaways

  • “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult tackles themes of race, justice, and compassion through the lens of a high-stakes legal case.
  • This audiobook review provides insight into the book’s writing style, character development, and emotional impact.
  • The audiobook narration is evaluated, and information is provided on where to purchase the audiobook.
  • You’ll also find a comparison with other works by Jodi Picoult and gain an understanding of her impact on contemporary literature.
  • In the final section, we provide our recommendation for “Small Great Things” and offer our personal thoughts on the audiobook.

Overview of “Small Great Things”

Written by the bestselling author Jodi Picoult, “Small Great Things” is a novel that examines deeply ingrained racism and prejudice in modern-day America. The story follows three characters: Ruth Jefferson, an experienced African American labor and delivery nurse; Turk Bauer, a white supremacist; and Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender who takes Ruth’s case when she faces criminal charges after the death of one of her patients.

The book is set in modern times and explores themes of race, justice, and compassion in three alternating points of view. Through the characters’ journeys, the reader experiences the uncomfortable realities of systemic racism and the complex emotions associated with dismantling it.

Main Characters

Ruth Jefferson – A highly skilled labor and delivery nurse of more than 20 years, Ruth is the story’s protagonist. She’s an African American woman who has worked hard to get where she is, but encounters institutional racism and prejudice when she’s prevented from caring for a white supremacist’s newborn baby.

Turk Bauer – A white supremacist with a criminal past, Turk and his wife become Ruth’s patients at the hospital, where Ruth is told to not administer care to their newborn baby.

Kennedy McQuarrie – A white public defender, Kennedy takes on Ruth’s case after Ruth is charged with the death of Turk’s newborn baby. Kennedy is also a mother and wife, and as she becomes more deeply involved in Ruth’s case, she’s forced to confront her own biases.

Plot Summary

The novel opens with Ruth being removed from her responsibilities for Turkey’s newborn child due to Ruth being a black woman. Tragically, the child passes away, leading to the police charging Ruth with negligent homicide. Kennedy McQuarrie takes on Ruth’s case and, through the legal battle, explores racism, white privilege and systemic injustice. The story reaches a dramatic climax as Kennedy uncovers the truth about what happened to the baby.

Overall, “Small Great Things” is a thought-provoking and emotional story that delves into the complexities of race and injustice in modern-day America. The book’s ability to explore the difficult topics of racism and prejudice offers an insightful and impactful read for all audiences.

Writing Style and Narrative

In “Small Great Things,” Jodi Picoult exhibits her exceptional writing style and employs various narrative techniques that make the book an engaging read.

Firstly, Picoult’s use of language is precise and descriptive. Her writing creates vivid imagery that helps the reader visualize the events in the story. Her attention to detail and use of metaphors enhance the reading experience and add depth to the characters and their emotions.

In addition to language, Picoult excels at creating realistic and relatable dialogue. Each character’s voice is distinct, and the conversations between them feel genuine. The dialogue aids in character development and contributes to the overall flow of the narrative.

Picoult’s storytelling is also noteworthy. She carefully weaves together different plotlines to create a cohesive and impactful story. The use of multiple perspectives allows the reader to gain insight into the thoughts and motivations of each character.

Overall, Jodi Picoult’s writing style and narrative techniques in “Small Great Things” elevate the book, making it a powerful and thought-provoking read.

Techniques Employed in “Small Great Things”

Technique Description
Descriptive Language Picoult’s use of precise and evocative language creates vivid imagery.
Realistic Dialogue The dialogue among characters is authentic and unique for each individual.
Multiple Perspectives The use of multiple narratives provides insight into the story from different viewpoints.

Themes and Social Issues Explored

In “Small Great Things,” Jodi Picoult tackles themes and social issues relevant to our time with her characteristic poignancy and depth. The book offers a thought-provoking exploration of topics such as racism, discrimination, privilege, and systemic injustice that plague our society till date.

The book highlights the prevalence of unconscious bias that is often internalized by individuals and manifested in discriminatory attitudes or behavior. By focusing on the experiences of Ruth Jefferson, an African American labor and delivery nurse, the book prompts readers to reflect on race relations in America and the innate inequalities in the justice system.

Racism and Discrimination

Picoult powerfully depicts the subtle as well as the overt forms of racism and discrimination faced by Ruth and other characters in the book. She highlights how apparent bias and microaggressions contribute to the systemic racism that exists in our society.

Privilege and Systemic Injustice

The book brings to light the issue of privilege and the uneven distribution of opportunities, wealth, and power within communities. It also raises questions regarding the validity and fairness of our justice system and highlights the reality of systemic injustice, especially for marginalized communities.

Picoult’s “Small Great Things” is a call to action for readers to confront the reality of social issues still prevalent in our world today. The book encourages its readers to recognize their own biases and work to eradicate them while also promoting empathy and compassion for all members of society.

Character Development

In “Small Great Things,” Jodi Picoult masterfully develops the main characters through their actions, thoughts, and interactions with others. One of the main characters is Ruth Jefferson, a highly skilled labor and delivery nurse with more than twenty years of experience. Ruth is also an African American woman navigating the challenges of working in a predominantly white workplace. As the story progresses, we witness Ruth’s character evolve through the adversity she faces due to systemic racism and discrimination.

Another key character in the novel is Turk Bauer, a white supremacist who, due to a series of events, blames Ruth for the death of his newborn son. As the story unfolds, we see Turk transform from a hateful and angry individual to someone who begins to question his beliefs and prejudices. His character arc highlights the power of personal growth and change.

Comparing Character Development

Character Development
Ruth Jefferson Grows and changes as she confronts challenges of systemic racism and discrimination.
Turk Bauer Transforms from a hateful and angry individual to someone who begins to question his beliefs and prejudices.

Through the skillful development of these and other characters, Picoult captures the complexity of human nature and challenges readers to examine their own biases and beliefs.

Character Development

Diversity and Representation

In “Small Great Things,” Jodi Picoult emphasizes diversity and representation by portraying characters from various racial backgrounds and perspectives. Through this approach, the author challenges readers to examine their own underlying assumptions and biases and confront the harsh realities of discrimination and social injustice.

Characters Race/Ethnicity Perspective
Ruth Jefferson African American A nurse who faces discrimination and racial bias in her workplace.
Kennedy McQuarrie White American A public defender who initially denies her own privilege and unconscious bias.
Turk Bauer White American A white supremacist who embodies extreme prejudice and hatred towards people of color.

By exploring the interwoven perspectives of these and other characters, “Small Great Things” offers a nuanced and multifaceted examination of the complex issues surrounding race and representation in contemporary America.

Engaging Narration in the Audiobook

The audiobook version of “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult is a captivating listening experience. The voice actors bring the characters to life with their distinct tones and skillful delivery. The overall production quality is top-notch, ensuring a clear and seamless narration.

One of the standout performers in the audiobook is Audra McDonald, who voices Ruth Jefferson, the main protagonist. McDonald’s emotional range and powerful performance elicit a deep connection with Ruth’s character. As a result, the listener becomes fully invested in Ruth’s story and experiences all the emotional highs and lows alongside her.

The secondary characters are also expertly portrayed, each with a unique voice that enhances their distinctive personalities. The audiobook’s engaging narration enhances Jodi Picoult’s thought-provoking novel, elevating the experience to new heights.

Pros and Cons of “Small Great Things” Audiobook

Pros Cons
The narrators’ performances are captivating and emotional May not be suitable for those who prefer to physically read the book
The use of different voices for each character enhances the listening experience The pacing may be slower than expected for some listeners
The production quality is top-notch Some listeners may find the audio format distracting at times

If you’re an audiobook fan or prefer to listen to books, “Small Great Things” is a must-listen. The engaging narration adds a new dimension to Jodi Picoult’s compelling novel, making it a listening experience you won’t soon forget.

Emotional Impact and Thought-Provoking Moments

Without a doubt, “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult is a novel that packs an emotional punch. From the very beginning, the story tackles issues of race, privilege, and systemic inequality, hitting hard at the heartstrings of readers and listeners alike.

One of the most thought-provoking moments in the book occurs when Ruth, the protagonist and a Black nurse, is questioned about her qualifications and abilities by a white supremacist couple who refuse to allow her to touch their newborn child. This scene powerfully illustrates the insidiousness of racism and its effects on both the oppressors and the oppressed.

Another impactful moment is when Turk, a white supremacist and Ruth’s accuser, is confronted with the facts of his case and must come to terms with the harm he has caused. Through this, the book raises important questions about accountability, redemption, and the human capacity for change.

Overall, “Small Great Things” is a masterful work that leaves a lasting impression on its readers and listeners, challenging them to confront their own biases and actively work towards creating a more just and equitable society.

Critical Reception and Awards

“Small Great Things” has been widely praised by critics for its bold exploration of race, privilege, and justice. The novel received positive reviews from major publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly.

Several awards and nominations have also recognized the impact of “Small Great Things.” In 2017, the novel won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work of Fiction. It was also a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards in the Fiction and Debut Author categories.

Small Great Things awards and critical reception

Summary of Critical Reception and Awards

Publication Review
The New York Times “Picoult tackles issues of race and discrimination in this novel that unflinchingly examines the ugliness of racial violence while still offering hope for a better future.”
The Washington Post “A story that is deeply felt and squarely addressing timely issues, this novel is one to savor and then share.”
Publishers Weekly “Picoult’s latest is a thought-provoking novel about racism and prejudice that asks readers to examine their own feelings and biases while also encouraging them to be empathetic and understanding.”
NAACP Image Award (2017) Winner of Outstanding Literary Work of Fiction
Goodreads Choice Awards (2016) Finalist for Fiction and Debut Author categories

Overall, “Small Great Things” has garnered critical acclaim for its poignant and thought-provoking story that tackles difficult social issues with sensitivity and empathy.

Comparison with Other Works by Jodi Picoult

While “Small Great Things” tackles the sensitive topics of race and discrimination head-on, it is not the only work in Jodi Picoult’s repertoire that explores complex social issues. One of Picoult’s most acclaimed novels, “My Sister’s Keeper,” also deals with emotionally charged subject matter, including terminal illness and medical ethics. However, unlike “Small Great Things,” which predominantly focuses on issues of racial inequality, “My Sister’s Keeper” explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the challenges of parenting a critically ill child.

Another novel worth comparing to “Small Great Things” is “The Pact,” which follows two families dealing with the aftermath of a tragic event. While the subject matter is vastly different from “Small Great Things,” “The Pact” shares similar narrative elements and complex character development.

Overall, Jodi Picoult is known for her thought-provoking and emotionally gripping novels, which tackle a wide range of social and ethical issues. “Small Great Things” continues this tradition, offering a powerful exploration of race and systemic inequality in modern-day America.

Jodi Picoult’s Impact on Contemporary Literature

Over the past few decades, Jodi Picoult’s thought-provoking novels have captivated millions of readers worldwide. With her unique ability to address complex social issues through compelling storytelling, Picoult has made a significant impact on contemporary literature.

Her works have been praised for their sensitive portrayal of diverse characters and perspectives, as well as their exploration of timely themes such as social justice, racism, and the human experience. Picoult’s books have sparked important conversations and challenged readers to examine their own biases and assumptions.

As one of the most popular authors of our time, Jodi Picoult has undoubtedly influenced the literary landscape with her powerful storytelling and unwavering commitment to addressing critical social issues. As readers continue to turn to her novels for insight and inspiration, it is clear that her impact on contemporary literature will be felt for years to come.

Final Thoughts and Recommendation

After listening to “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult, it is clear that this is a must-read for anyone interested in thought-provoking literature. The audiobook expertly tackles themes of racism, justice, and compassion in a way that is both emotional and insightful. Picoult’s skillful writing and engaging narration create a truly immersive experience that will stay with the listener long after the final chapter.

We highly recommend “Small Great Things” to readers and audiobook enthusiasts alike. Its relevance to today’s social issues and its powerful message of empathy make it a standout work of contemporary fiction.

Where to Purchase the Audiobook

If you’re interested in listening to “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult, you can easily purchase the audiobook version from various online retailers. Some of the popular options include:

  • Amazon: You can either purchase the physical audiobook or download the Audible version from Amazon.
  • Barnes & Noble: The Barnes & Noble website offers the audiobook in CD and MP3 CD formats.
  • Audible: As an Amazon company, Audible is a great option for audiobook enthusiasts. You can sign up for the free trial as a new customer and listen to “Small Great Things” for free.

No matter which retailer you choose, be sure to check the format compatibility with your listening device before purchasing the audiobook. Enjoy listening to the thought-provoking story of “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult.


Can you provide an overview of the book “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult?

“Small Great Things” is a thought-provoking novel by Jodi Picoult that explores themes of race, justice, and compassion. It follows the story of Ruth, a Black labor and delivery nurse, who is faced with a moral dilemma when she is forbidden to touch the baby of white supremacist parents.

What is Jodi Picoult’s writing style like in “Small Great Things”?

Jodi Picoult’s writing style in “Small Great Things” is compelling and engaging. She masterfully uses language, vivid descriptions, and powerful dialogue to bring the story to life. Her narrative techniques keep readers captivated from start to finish.

What are the major themes and social issues explored in “Small Great Things”?

“Small Great Things” delves into important themes such as racism, discrimination, privilege, and systemic injustice. The novel confronts these issues head-on, sparking introspection and conversations about social inequalities.

How are the characters developed in “Small Great Things”?

The characters in “Small Great Things” undergo significant development throughout the novel. Ruth, the protagonist, grows in resilience and self-discovery, while other characters also experience personal transformations. Their motivations, relationships, and complexities make them relatable and dynamic.

Does “Small Great Things” portray diverse characters and perspectives?

Yes, “Small Great Things” emphasizes the importance of diversity and representation. The novel portrays a wide range of characters from different backgrounds and perspectives, providing a nuanced and inclusive portrayal of society.

Is the audiobook narration of “Small Great Things” engaging?

The audiobook narration of “Small Great Things” is highly engaging. The voice actors deliver powerful performances, capturing the essence of the characters and enhancing the listening experience.

Does “Small Great Things” elicit emotional impact?

Yes, “Small Great Things” is emotionally impactful. It navigates difficult and thought-provoking moments that stir empathy, anger, and reflection. Readers will find themselves deeply invested in the story and its emotional resonance.

How has “Small Great Things” been received by critics and has it received any awards?

“Small Great Things” has received widespread acclaim from critics. It has been praised for its powerful storytelling, compelling themes, and thought-provoking narrative. The book has also received several awards and accolades, solidifying its place as a significant literary work.

Can you compare “Small Great Things” to other works by Jodi Picoult?

Certainly, “Small Great Things” stands out as a compelling addition to Jodi Picoult’s body of work. While it shares her trademark style of tackling complex social issues, it explores race and systemic injustice in a unique and impactful way.

How has Jodi Picoult’s writing impacted contemporary literature?

Jodi Picoult’s writing has made a significant impact on contemporary literature. Her thought-provoking stories and strong social commentary have heightened awareness and sparked important conversations. She has become a prominent voice in addressing societal issues through her novels.

What are your final thoughts on “Small Great Things” and do you recommend it?

“Small Great Things” is an exceptional novel that tackles important social issues with grace and sensitivity. Its engaging narrative, well-developed characters, and thought-provoking themes make it a must-read. I highly recommend “Small Great Things” to readers who seek impactful and thought-provoking literature.

Where can I purchase the audiobook version of “Small Great Things”?

You can purchase the audiobook version of “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult from popular online retailers and audiobook platforms such as Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

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