Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (Wow!!! – this post is important to me)

This is my first time to ever write a book review I suppose you’d call this, so be patient with me. I’m more into taking photos than being a writer 🙂 much less a “book reviewer”. I am an avid reader and have been since I was a kid!!  Lately, due to my eyes going cross after a while, I have been listening to books instead using Audible on my way to and from work each day and any other time I can squeeze in!  As I have enjoyed several of Jodi Picoult’s novels in the past, I read the usual blurb about Small Great Things and thought – ok, add it to the cart, as you can’t really go wrong with a Jodi Picoult book.  Little did I know what was in store for me!! This is now my all time favorite book!!!

What an amazing and exceptional book!!! I feel this should be required reading for our teens especially!! It deals with racism in a very different sort of way. It hits the topic from all angles really.  It’s a really interesting story line that’s a real page turner in itself, but more than that, it is very thought-provoking – at least it was for me!! I think it would though for ANYONE!!

As a white woman, I never have had to THINK even about if the birthday card I buy pictured kids that look like mine…(i.e. white), – nor do I or have I ever “sought one out” – they are just “there” in abundance and I am more interested in what the card says anyway! I have to confess though, I never have even THOUGHT about this and how it must really stink to seldom have that option! I am sure thinking about it now!! Nor a doll that looked like my daughter – white, yes, this is now better in selection, but still…start to look around next time you are shopping and see for yourself-slim pickings!  I can go into any salon and not worry that the beautician doesn’t know how to deal with my hair because I am white. Now in MY, personal, neighborhood, (not the case certainly in ALL neighborhoods!), if a Policeman/woman is looking for someone, say a teen, that might have done something bad nearby and they see a white, black or whatever color kid running down the street, I’d honestly say ALL kids would be stopped – perhaps, in my case, this is also attributed to the fact that my neighborhood is culturally diverse and lower income folks like me to begin with so there wouldn’t be a situation where anyone of color “stood out”, unlike many areas if that makes sense.  The book really does make you think about things and how hatred and racism manifests itself amongst all races, people, etc. and sometimes the why behind it too which is equally just as sad and tragic.

Anyway, like I said…I am no writer or experienced book reviewer but if you’re looking for a good read, regardless of your background or skin color, this is indeed, I think, a book well worth reading! The ending rocks too!!

I really should have been a flower child…I just want peace, love, equality and harmony for everyone 🙂

Here is an excerpt taken from a recent interview on NPR with host, Scott Simon and Jodi Picoult:

“PICOULT: I’d wanted to write about racism. I’ve wanted to do that for a very long time. Twenty years ago, I started a book after reading a news story about an African-American undercover cop who was shot four times in the back on the subway by his white colleagues. And I started that book, and I tried very hard to write it, and ultimately I failed. I just couldn’t write an authentic story. And I really second-guessed myself. I thought, you know, do I even have the right to write this story? I am a white woman. I have not lived this life. This is not my story to tell.

And then in 2012, I read a news story that came out of Flint, Mich., and there was an African-American nurse there with 20 years of labor and delivery experience who helped deliver a baby. And in the aftermath, the father called her supervisor into the room and asked that she not touch the baby nor anyone who looked like her. He pulled up his sleeve to reveal a swastika tattoo. There was a Post-it note left on the baby’s file that said no African-American personnel to touch this infant. And the nurse wound up suing the hospital. She settled out of court. I hope she got a very large payout.

But it became a seed for me that grew, and I began to push the envelope a little bit, wondering what would happen if that nurse had been left alone with the baby? What would happen if she had to make a decision that could result on her going to trial and being defended by a white public defender who, like me and like many people I know, would never consider herself to be a racist? And I began to think about trying to tell the story from three different points of view – the African-American nurse, the white public defender and the skinhead father – as they all confronted their beliefs about power and privilege and race.”

Thanks for listening and pick up a copy and tell me your thoughts or let me know if you have read it yet!!!

Elizabeth and Max (my faithful pup and buddy)

PS I reached out to Jodi Picoult to thank her for writing this amazing novel and guess what? She, herself – not some assistant, etc. responded! What a treat! I have to say I was I giant goofball with her as she’s so famous, etc. that I really didn’t expect that!!! But, wow – how kind and impressive that she actually responded to me herself! Thanks!!! :)!!! You made my day!!!

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Books: Electronic, Audible or Paper?

What are your top 3 book recommendations?? Paper, Electronic or Ear Driven?? 

I have to say I was inspired by The Mexi Movie’s blog after reading her About Me section – go check out her blog too!

As a child, I once got in trouble when first learning to read – I always wanted to read a different kind of book than “Run Spot Run” type of book.  I’d argue with my Mom that “normal people don’t talk like that”, and it was boring! Good thing both parents were avid readers and explained I HAD to read the books the teacher said to read in order to become a better reader, BUT I could also get my own books at the library as long as I read the school ones.  Great – but as a painfully shy little girl, although I loved reading…I would rather take a failing grade than give an oral book report, this started to hamper my reading enjoyment too as I began to associate reading with stress!!! My 5th grade teacher, (whom I reached out to as an adult to thank profusely), changed all that for me and I was allowed to do my oral book reports with only her or could choose to write my report! We even had a contest to race across the room with a string that was strung in a zig zag pattern along the ceiling of the classroom with clothes-pins holding our names based on how many pages we had read and it was a “race” to get to the finish line! Funny, I still remember that and how it made this noncompetitive little girl competitive! Thus, my love for reading!

My eyes are pitiful now, (transitional lenses help but still not that great), so although I do love reading, it’s become easier for me personally, as a result, to use the kindle or audible.com but it concerns me that soon we won’t be able to get a “real” (physical, paper) book and that to me, is a shame.  Yet sure is wonderful to drive to work and back (about 40 minutes each way) and have someone tell me a story using my audible.com subscription! Makes it soooo much more enjoyable dealing with traffic! My Kindle is great for lunch time at my desk sometimes and waiting at the doctor’s office, etc. However, any chance I can find to give an actual book as a gift I take in order to do my part to keep actual bookstores alive 🙂 

Gosh, I’m just a chatterbox today! (Sorry!). Ok, so my favorite books are:

Jonathan Carroll’s Sleeping In The Flame and pretty much any of his books!  What a nice, funny and engaging guy too! Met him once at the first booksigning event I ever attended in Austin back when my Dad was alive. 

Pretty much anything by Harlan Coben but the first book of his I read hooked me which was Deal Breaker. He’s also a cool dude in person and once again, met him at a Houston booksigning.  (Love the fact my Dad TOLD me WHEN and WHERE we were going and to put it on my calendar to come pick him up!) 🙂 

Having Our Say:  The Delany Sisters ‘ First 100 Years by Sarah and A. Elizabeth Delany and Amy Hill Hearth is definitely a top 3 for me!

Haven’t found a bad Jodi Picoult book yet either but no particular favorite. 

My question today is, are you fans of paper, audible or electronic books?

What’s your top 3 book recommendations?

Thanks for visiting!!!