Jodi Picoult writes "women's fiction," which means it usually has a pastel cover, is commercially successful and gets filed under "guilty pleasure reading" in many people's minds. But this assumption implies there's no literary value to writing about women (obviously untrue) and it ignores Picoult's talent for telling complex stories that delve into the issues that make us most uncomfortable, such as domestic violence, school shootings and, in her latest offering, race.
Small Great Things revolves around Ruth Jefferson, a nurse with two decades of experience and a spotless record. One night, a couple delivers a beautiful baby boy, but they don't want Ruth caring for him; they're white supremacists, and she's black. But when the baby goes into cardiac arrest after a routine procedure, Ruth is the only nurse available. Does she follow her instincts and perform CPR, or follow orders and refrain from touching him? Ruth hesitates and the baby dies. When a local police officer empathizes with the grieving father, she finds herself on trial for the baby's death. What follows is a suspenseful glimpse into the lives of Ruth, her overworked public defender, Kennedy, and the baby's father, Turk. It's also a lesson in race relations in America: who gets the benefit of the doubt, how easily a lifetime of good work can unravel and how prejudice can evolve into life-altering injustice.
Join Canadian Living Editor-in-Chief, Jes Watson, as she welcomes Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author, for an evening of wine, treats and compelling conversation in honour of her latest thought-provoking novel, Small Great Things. Click here for tickets.
To discover more Penguin Random House reads click here. Plus, enter our contest for your chance to win six Penguin Random House titles.