Racial prejudice has never been more open and prevalent than in recent months, in the wake of Brexit, the election of Donald Trump as the new US President and the Black Lives Matter movement. So well done to author Jodi Picoult who, never one to shy away from controversial topics, tackles the issue of colour in her latest novel, Small Great Things.
Although this is her 24th published book, she initially wanted to address this subject early on in her writing career, but felt too inexperienced to do it justice until now, two decades later. Small Great Things, taken from a Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr quote, follows the case of experienced labour and delivery nurse Ruth Harrison, who happens to be black. She finds herself arrested for murder and involuntary manslaughter when a baby dies under her watch, following a routine hospital procedure – despite the baby’s white supremacist parents banning her from looking after their child.
As with Picoult’s other works, the story is seen through three different perspectives – that of Ruth, her lawyer and the child’s father. How Ruth’s situation and trial unfolds will make you cry, fill you with shock and disbelief, but above all, make you think about how the world is more than just black and white.
Published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton, priced £14.99