Book: Small Great Things
Author: Jodi Picoult
Now THIS is my book of the year (I write this with so much confidence but I’m allowed to change my mind… right?).
Let me break down (a few of) my thoughts for you:
- Like I mentioned with January’s read Wonder, I love getting into characters’ minds and understanding their thought process. Life is multidimensional isn’t it? So are points of view. So I’m seeing things through the lens of a black nurse with c. 20yrs of experience, a white supremacist genuinely fighting for what he believes is “just” and a middle class lawyer just trying to do her job, all encompassing this one read! It’s not so much that it’s genius, it’s more the fluidity in which she weaves the character perspectives (being that their mind frames exist in alternate universes) that’s what blows my mind.
- I’m black. I’ve spent the vast majority of my life living in Nigeria. In Nigeria, the people are black. The citizens are (mostly) black. Racism isn’t a thing- at least not a prejudice I’ve experienced here (I’d be interested in finding out white people’s opinions though). My family is comfortable, I am comfortable. I’ve experienced racism abroad and it’s ugly, so that amongst other things is a reason why I find that I am most comfortable in Nigeria. When someone follows me around the shop here, it’s not because they think I’m going to steal. It’s because they think I’m going to buy every damn thing and leave a tip on top of that! They probably think that my perfectly manicured nails and pampered skin won’t tolerate the stress of having to carry a shopping basket or push a trolley, who knows I might cave under the weight (LOL). When I wear track suit (this is rare by the way) it’s not because I’m “ghetto” and getting ready to make a run for it (what ever it is), it’s because I was lazy and threw on something comfortable. When I read Small Great Things, I got angry on behalf of all the black people abroad that experience racism. No matter where you live, how much you earn or what you’ve accomplished, there will always be those that can’t see past
your skin colourthe fact that you do not look like them, and this absolutely blows my mind!
- This book was written by a white woman. She did research, she wrote a story loaded with empathy, unveiling the workings of the American ‘Justice’ system and head on confronting racism. When I read Ruth’s perspective, I felt like I was Ruth and I understood her decisions. When I read Turk’s perspective, I can’t say I fully understood but at least it provided a glimmer of insight. Maybe I’m a little emotional, but I cried when I read Small Great Things.
- Somewhat random, but there’s a paragraph in the book which I quoted on my Instagram Stories because at the time, it was SO relevant to what I was going through. Not as a black person, but as a human being:
“If the past few months have taught me anything, it’s that friendship is a smokescreen. The people you think are solid turn out to be mirrors and lights; and then you look down and realize there are others you took for granted those who are your foundation.”
Which takes me to my final point:
- Jodi Picoult’s writing style is beautiful. Her phrases are like a song with deeper meaning. If you rush through, you might be unappreciative of the melodies…. It’ll be like shutting your blinds when the sun is setting instead of taking in the colours, the patience, the beauty. If like me, you then happen to find something that speaks to your situation, well… it’s all over!
BV Rates: 9/10
Ps: When you read JP’s more recent stories, the growth is evident. She’s definitely one of my top authors. I’m not sure I’ll ever turn down the opportunity to read one of her books.
PPs: On that random note about skin, I broke out recently and I’ve now taken on a 5 step beauty regimen which is a bit extra for (and hilarious to) me. I’m really hoping it makes a difference. Should I blog about it? LOL I don’t know I’ll need to put pictures….