Small Great Things | Penguin Random House Canada
We have updated our Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018, to clarify how we collect and process your personal data. By continuing to use this website, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to the updated Privacy Policy.

Small Great Things

Publisher: Vintage Canada
A woman is caught in a gripping moral dilemma that resonates far beyond her place in time and history in #1 New York Times bestseller Jodi Picoult's latest novel.

A young woman and her husband, admitted to hospital to have a baby, request that their nurse be reassigned--they are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is black, to touch their baby. The hospital complies, but the baby later goes into cardiac distress when Ruth is on duty. She hesitates before rushing in to perform CPR. When her indecision ends in tragedy, Ruth finds herself on trial, represented by a white public defender who warns against bringing race into the courtroom. As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear.

Praise for Small Great Things

“I couldn’t put it down. Her best yet!”New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman
“A compelling, can’t-put-it-down drama with a trademark [Jodi] Picoult twist.”Good Housekeeping
“It’s Jodi Picoult, the prime provider of literary soul food. This riveting drama is sure to be supremely satisfying and a bravely thought-provoking tale on the dangers of prejudice.”Redbook
“Jodi Picoult is never afraid to take on hot topics, and in Small Great Things, she tackles race and discrimination in a way that will grab hold of you and refuse to let you go. . . . This page-turner is perfect for book clubs.”Popsugar

From the Hardcover edition.



The miracle happened on West Seventy-fourth Street, in the home where Mama worked. It was a big brownstone encircled by a wrought-iron fence, and overlooking either side of the ornate door were gargoyles, their granite faces carved from my nightmares. They terrified me, so I didn’t mind the fact that we...
Read More



“Picoult carefully shows how close the dangerous beliefs of someone like Turk can come to all of us, and also how the seemingly innocuous prejudices of a person like Kennedy can do just as much damage. . . . I admire her for telling this particular story, even if some might feel parts of it aren’t hers to tell. . . . It’s a story that should be told, no matter the pitfalls, and I hope other well-known authors follow Picoult’s brave path, forcing their captive audiences to face unpleasant facts and perhaps enact change—even if the only change is talking about things we normally keep hidden inside.” —Marissa Stapley, author of Mating for Life, The Globe and Mail

“If there’s one word to describe author Jodi Picoult, it’s fierce. The bestselling author . . . has never been one to shy away from hot-button topics.” —Sue Carter, editor of Quill & Quire, Metro

Small Great Things tackles tricky subject matter with grace. . . . I found her novel a gripping read about an issue of urgency. She treats the subject matter with respect and is clearly aware of her own lack of first-person knowledge or experience of racism. . . . Picoult’s stories are always . . . well-written, fast-paced, multi-faceted and current. Small Great Things is no different. It will leave you with lots to think about, more knowledge than you had before and a deeper understanding of America today.” —Vancouver Sun 

“[G]ripping . . . offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book.” —Booklist (starred review)

“It’s Jodi Picoult, the prime provider of literary soul food. This riveting drama is sure to be supremely satisfying and a bravely thought-provoking tale on the dangers of prejudice.” —Redbook

“[Picoult] tackles race and discrimination in a way that will grab hold of you and refuse to let you go. . . . This page-turner is perfect for book clubs.” —Popsugar

“I couldn’t put it down. Her best yet!” —Alice HoffmanNew York Times bestselling author 

“A compelling, can’t-put-it-down drama with a trademark [Jodi] Picoult twist.” Good Housekeeping

Small Great Things is the most important novel Jodi Picoult has ever written. Frank, uncomfortably introspective and right on the day’s headlines, it will challenge her readers. . . . [I]t’s . . . exciting to have a high-profile writer like Picoult take an earnest risk to expand our cultural conversation about race and prejudice.” —The Washington Post 

“[Jodi Picoult] is adept at taking on thorny issues—medical ethics, mass shootings, the death penalty—and recasting them on a relatable human scale. Her latest plunge into the current, Small Great Things, arrives at a pointed time when institutional racism—its violence and the entitlement it confers on some—is the subject of near daily commentary. . . . Weaving three first-person accounts . . . Small Great Things is big on ambition. . . . Many of the novel’s most tender observations have little to do with race but with Ruth’s gifts as a nurse, her grace. . . . Given that Picoult is wrestling with the subject of white privilege, writing Ruth’s story in the first person might seem like an exercise of that very prerogative. Can Ruth be the hero of her own story? Or must she be saved by Kennedy? Turns out, this is Picoult’s driving concern, too. That Small Great Things embraces this question with empathy, hope and humility is no small feat.” —Newsday

To say this story is horrifyingly real undersells it—Picoult chillingly details Turk’s transition to white supremacist. . . . [T]his story belongs to Ruth and Turk and the changes they undergo as the book unfolds. There are times it’s hard to read because of the window it opens into our 2016 world, but it’s even harder to put down. Picoult has outdone herself with Small Great Things.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things has had an even more powerful impact on me than John Howard Griffin’s book [Black Like Me], and I am still trying to absorb it all. I nearly put it down during the first few chapters. Some of the main characters are white supremacists, and I found the hatred expressed difficult to read. . . . I would have missed a treasure if I had not returned to Small Great Things. . . . For me, Kennedy’s journey was in many ways my journey. She is confident she does not see ‘color’ in people, but Ruth has a lifetime of lessons to teach her, and she taught me, too. . . . I learned that racism has two sides, and the privileges afforded whites are just as big a problem as the overt discrimination against those of color. Revelations abound in this skillfully written novel.” —Sandy Mahaffey, The Free Lance-Star

“This book certainly left me thinking, and hopefully it will lead to honest conversations and a better understanding about race and prejudice and how we can learn to live together with true respect and equity. I highly recommend this book to all readers.” —The Missourian

“Author Jodi Picoult weaves a complicated story. . . . Small Great Things takes a raw, critical look at racism, specifically, the subtleties that perpetuate, instead of change, a flawed system. Active racism is easy to spot, but passive racism is more difficult to discern. This novel made me ponder and reconsider how I really think and feel about these issues. In my opinion, this powerful book is written for our times and will generate deep discussions for book clubs.” —Steamboat Pilot & Today (Colorado)

“[A] great make-you-think novel. . . . Author Jodi Picoult wrapped a story around a nugget of news, and it’s not a particularly relaxing thing: her stellar characterization—for Turk, especially—will make you squirm. . . . Picoult peppers her story with precisely-right extras, a properly-unwound trial, and a perfect ending to this glued-to-your-hands novel. Fans of Picoult, get ready, set, go. You know you want this book—just as you will if you’re a lover of make-you-think novels. Start Small Great Things and you can’t put it down.” —Quad-City Times (Iowa and Illinois)

“Picoult can be relied upon to find the themes that are most important to our national conversation and then to explore them with wit, warmth, and skill. . . . This excellent, timely novel is sure to be loved by Picoult’s fans and is certain to create new ones.” —Michael Hermann, owner of Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, NH, American Booksellers Association