Sunday, January 22, 2017

Small Great Things (4)

Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

It seems more than perfect that I am writing this on the day after the historic Womxn's March. A march that fundamentally asked the nation to listen to those less privileged.
"In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us." - Women's March
In Small Great Things, we are introduced to Ruth Jefferson, the only person of color in the labor and delivery ward of her hospital. Ruth doesn't like to think about how the color of her skin affects how others treat her, at least not the way that her sister Adisa, shouts about it all the time. But one day, Ruth starts her shift by caring for a newborn and his mother, Brittany When Ruth begins to help Brittany nurse baby Davis, his father asks to speak to her supervisor. The family are white supremacists, and they do not want a person of color caring for any of them. But when Ruth is left alone with the baby, she has to face some quick decisions. Decisions that ultimately lead to a

And so begins what is being considered a "remarkable achievement, tackling race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn't offer easy answers." (Goodreads). 

 I decided to listen to this book solely because Audra McDonald was listed as the narrator and I love her.

Audra McDonald, winner of six Tony's and one of the most interesting people to follow on twitter

In the "pro" column:
- I finished this 16 hour audiobook in about 3 days. I NEEDED to know what was going to happen. 
-It is a good primer on current race relations - think Racism 101: What is privilege?

In the afterward, Picoult talks about her personal journey to write this book, and her purpose for writing this book. She says that she wanted to write a book about race for awhile, and felt uncomfortable as a white lady discussing racism. She decided, finally, to write a book for her fans - white ladies - about racism. She definitely did her research and confronted her biases and privilege. I hope her readers will do the same. I hope that people who read this book don't just applaud Kennedy for confronting her own brand of "colorblind" racism without reconsidering a bit of what they think. 

Around midnight I was listening to the story and wrote myself the note, "if you think this is going to to be a book about a woman of color, you'd be right. Until her white defense attorney is introduced and then it becomes a story of the white girl confronting her racism and really the woman of color saved HER!" And I think that's the only way I can sum up my thoughts on this book. Like, yes, I needed to know how it ended. But this story is only groundbreaking if you like to write #AllLivesMatter. We all have more work to do. 

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