1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $16.95

Buy for $16.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Number-one New York Times Best Seller

With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead listeners to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, Small Great Things is the stunning new pause-resister from Jodi Picoult.

Soon to be a major motion picture

“[Picoult] 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])

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than 20 years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? 

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family - especially her teenage son - as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others - and themselves - might be wrong. 

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion - and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

Praise for Small Great Things

Small Great Things is the most important novel Jodi Picoult has ever written.... It will challenge her readers...[and] expand our cultural conversation about race and prejudice.” (The Washington Post)

“A novel that puts its finger on the very pulse of the nation that we live in today...a fantastic read from beginning to end, as can always be expected from Picoult, this novel maintains a steady, page-turning pace that makes it hard for readers to put down.” (San Francisco Book Review)

©2016 Jodi Picoult (P)2016 Random House Audio

Featured Article: The Absolute Best of Jodi Picoult in Audio


You’ve probably heard of Jodi Picoult and her stellar reputation in the world of contemporary fiction. Picoult’s novels explore topical issues through compelling stories that are often known for inspiring listeners to shed a tear. But Picoult is such a prolific writer that it can be difficult to know which audiobook to listen to first. Here are our suggestions for the best Jodi Picoult audiobooks—the ones that should go on your listening list straight away.

What listeners say about Small Great Things

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25,855
  • 4 Stars
    4,302
  • 3 Stars
    908
  • 2 Stars
    247
  • 1 Stars
    243
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    24,634
  • 4 Stars
    3,353
  • 3 Stars
    570
  • 2 Stars
    101
  • 1 Stars
    107
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23,289
  • 4 Stars
    4,003
  • 3 Stars
    873
  • 2 Stars
    272
  • 1 Stars
    228

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Must Read

Must read for everyone! I was a little hesitant to read at first being a black woman and doubting our represtation by a non black author. To my pleasant surprise Picoult hit the mark and truly embodied Ruth. The obstacle and fears Ruth expressed are truly daily concerns that plagues us. Loved this book.

153 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Hard to read for several reasons

Picoult almost always makes me think. And Small Great Things is no exception. It's "ripped from the headlines" and fairly well done.

The setup and development of the plot were well done but the big "plot twist" was manipulative. I'm not going to provide any spoilers, but as soon as I saw it coming, I was annoyed with the author.

The main characters (Ruth; her son; her sister; Turk and Brittany, her accusers; and Kennedy, her public defender) were well drawn if painfully close to stereotypes - or maybe archetypes. This bothered me. She also had some very preachy moments in that she put lots and lots of words in the characters' minds so that lessons could be conveyed. These factors detracted from what was otherwise a pretty good book.

On the other hand, Picoult really made me think about some painful truths about race relations in America. One of the best things seemed to be her successful attempt to let her readers at least come close to understanding how "the other" feels.

For this I am grateful. I recommend the book.

137 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Rolled my eyes

When I saw the subject matter and that the author was white, I rolled my eyes. I thought here was go again, another white author trying to tell a story from a black perspective. I continued to roll my eyes through at least a third of the book. Then I realized she’s telling my story, my husband’s story, my sister’s and my friend’s stories. The book is told in such a way I forgot the author was white and appreciated the work. I’ve recommended it to several friends of all races. Can’t wait to hear their reactions.

91 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Marvelous narration of an excellent novel

The title, Small Great Things, is from a quote of Dr. Martin Luther King. This only my sixth Jodi Picoult novel and it is by far the best. The story is riveting and the focus on racism is certainly appropriate in today's climate. The setting is New Haven CT. I classify the genre as legal thriller rather than contemporary fiction. The story deserves 5 stars rather than 4, but I have down rated it because of specific comments in the novel that I believe are untrue and unfair political cheap shots. The most important is a statement that Tea Party members are racist like skinheads and neo-Nazis. That statement is simply untrue; hate them or love them Tea Party members are about government financial responsibility rather than race. That and some other cheap shots demonstrates the author is ignorant of some of the matters on which she comments.

This novel deals with the overt and open racism of the antagonist couple as well as the more subtle unintended racial insensitivity of protagonist Ruth Jefferson's co-workers and even her lawyer. The point is that in the US those of us born Caucasian often do not show adequate sensitivity toward those of color. I agree we need to be more sensitive. In his August 1963 speech on Washington DC mall Dr. King looked forward to the day that all people would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. That is still the goal. We have made great progress as a nation, but we are not yet there.

Ruth Jefferson, a very caring long time nurse who lost her soldier husband to war and is raising a 17 year old star pupil son, makes a wonderful protagonist. She is the type of honest and ethical person who evokes strong empathy. I doubt that in our legal system she would have been charged with murder or any crime. As such this novel is not realistic, but reading fiction requires a significant level of suspension of disbelief. I look forward to the second novel in the Ruth Jefferson series.

I highly recommend Small Great Things.

74 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

WOW

Upon reading the synopsis, I was a little suspect about this novel. Frankly, it sounded as if it could easily set me up to be disappointed and I really liked Jodi Picout too much to be disappointed by one of her novels. I preordered the book and began it in the first day it arrived.

Why did I love this book? Because I've lived this book and it felt as if Jodi looked into my heart, mind and soul to craft this novel . It felt as if she became a sister from another mother and gave voice to my greatest fears and angst. Thank you for putting the voice that resonates inside my head into words that others can read:listen to and understand.

66 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unable to get this book out of my head!

Best book I've read or listened to in a very long time. The narrators are stellar. The story line so relevant to today. Most importantly I was drawn in and felt like I was Ruth.

60 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Timely

Jodi has a way of presenting life's complexities and pain in a way that the impact continues long after the last page is turned. As a highly educated African American woman who attended dominant culture (white) schools all of my life, this book spoke to me. Racism is so insidious that we now call it unconscious bias. I use this term and understand it intellectually, however, my soul feels this bias as racism. In spite of chronic soul injury I am consciously aware of the fact that whatever I do or say in response to this chronic trauma I must never forget my responsibility to those generations who follow me. My doctoral professor asked me why I choose to carry that burden. My response, because if I don't who will. At 65 years of age looking at the current political climate, the maltreatment and disrespect shown towards President Obama and his grace and dignity during the past 8 years, my answer remains the same. "When they go low, you go high". (Mrs. Obama). Thank you Jodi for having the courage to write this book.

45 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

There aren't enough stars for this perspective altering story.

Jodi Picoult has me in awe. The story and the way it's told will forever change the way I view people and hopefully my interactions with those who are different from me. I'm grateful for this book and plan to hand it to many people this Christmas.

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Nancy Drew

I am baffled by these reviews but then I doubt many of the reviewers are nurses, for if they were they would see just how ridiculous this romanticized version of the nurse character is! This is the kind of fantasy characterization of nursing that makes someone want to go into nursing only to discover that is not even close to reality.

Nurses don't "know what their patient needs even before they do", we don't always have a perfect understanding of family dynamics or always know just what to say and we don't run differential diagnosis during routine, "head to toe" assessments, and we certainly don't diagnose heart sounds then share the diagnosis with an obviously hostile family member we have not even been introduced to!

At the end of this romanticized, jargon-laden, chapter our super nurse, "scoops up" the newborn from our mother, who only moments ago, intuitively allowed to hold onto while she did an assessment because, a nurse, she just understands how it is with new moms. Yuk!

Ok, so I'm biased, I find almost all medically oriented story lines poorly researched, incorrect and almost impossible to endure.

But our next character turns out to be another over-the-top, 2-dimensional, character; a freaky white racist from Vermont, probably the least likely place such a character would be found; I know, I was born and raised there. Sorry, more bias.

I can only imagine what follows. How many more such characters will appear and how many ridiculous situations will be drawn; like courtroom drama as poorly drawn as the hospital scene in the first chapters of this book. But I will never know because I couldn't continue reading this simplistic, black and white; pardon the pun, over-the-top version of reality.

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This Book Should Be Required Reading

What did you love best about Small Great Things?

The view from all three characters was so enlightening. It really got you into the mindset of how those individuals thought and lived their lives.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Small Great Things?

The best moment was Kennedy's closing arguments. She was so eloquent and really gave me (a black woman) something to think about.

Which scene was your favorite?

After the verdict on the courthouse steps.

Who was the most memorable character of Small Great Things and why?

Of course, Ruth Jefferson. I liked her, I loved her, she made me mad, I empathized with her, I felt her pain and I understood her relief.

Any additional comments?

This book should be made into a movie, but only because the people who really would benefit from reading it won't or don't read. Movies usually don't do books justice, but this topic is so important it needs to sprout wings and fly!! I recommend it to everyone.

36 people found this helpful