Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty 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?
My take: 3 looks
Like the other Picoult books I have read, this one had me hooked from the beginning. The writing is so compelling and the subject of current-day racism is so relevant.
I jumped right in, hating Turk, pulling for Ruth, wary of Adisa, and cheering for Kennedy. Living in the deep south, where the most heinous acts occurred during the civil rights era, I have a different perspective than I think people in other regions of the US may have. Like Kennedy’s mother, I don’t tend to look at how far we have yet to go, but how far we’ve come.
With that said, it was very difficult to read some of the sections, and made me put the book down so I could consider the text. I didn’t read this book lightly, and am glad of the conversations that I feel it will inspire. Conversations that need to happen.
Then I got to the end. I am not going to spoil it for you, but the ending of the book left me completely deflated. I wanted the situation to be handled realistically. I wanted a real-world outcome, with all of its consequences. I wanted commentary on how the struggle for racial equity continues. I wanted evidence of small steps making a difference. I wanted to see how people changed perspectives from both sides of the color wheel. This struggle is not a tidy one, and that’s what I expected to see reflected here.
Instead, I felt robbed of all of that. Instead, I got theatrics. And not even realistic, at that. The ending is out of left field, and so out of any realm of remote possibility that it almost ruined the rest of the story for me. If it were not for the strong social commentary throughout, I would have put this at a rating of two, but I think Picoult had more to offer than that rating would indicate. However, she also had a great opportunity to shine a spotlight while holding a mirror up to her readers. That opportunity was squandered.
Recommended, but prepare to be disappointed.
This book is available October 11, 2016.
Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers for a copy of this prerelease in exchange for my honest opinion.