An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of 400 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger. Enjoy ARCs and new releases.
Talented Jodi Picoult returns following Leaving Time landing on my Top Books of 2014 with SHINE, a small book but big in so many ways. Packed with lots of heart, dreams, and the brightest of shining stars.
A special young girl you will fall in love with, as she learns at a young age the injustice of a cruel world of prejudice, race, and privilege.
Set in 1979, readers get a look at Ruth Brook’s life at an early age, prior to moving into the highly anticipated SMALL GREAT THINGS, where we pick up with Ruth’s life as an adult. Both powerful moving, thought-provoking, and emotional “must reads.”
Ruth is excited about her first day in the third grade at the private prestigious school, Dalton in Manhattan. She is smart and earned a scholarship. Unfortunately, she is the only black student in an all- white school. Surely her teachers and fellow students would see more than just her skin color.
Sam Hallowell’s chauffeur would take Ruth (black) and Christina (white) in a shiny black car through Central Park to the Upper East side to school. At the end of the school day, she would return and play with Christina in her room, or do her homework in the kitchen until her mama finished working.
Ruth and her mom would then take the bus to Harlem, back to their own place, where Granny and Rachel would be waiting. Rachel, her sister goes to a public school in Harlem.
Ms. Mina is her mama’s employer and Christina's mom. Ruth's mama is a housekeeper for the wealthy white family. They were a good family and helped her attain a full scholarship, but she had done the work, taken a test and done well. She was grateful for this incredible opportunity and wanted to make her mama proud. She wanted her to have a good education, so she could make something of herself.
Christina and Ruth had been friends for a long time; however, this was something new. There would be no one who looked like her. How would Christina treat her around her friends?
Soon Ruth feels uncomfortable when the class has an assignment of drawing their family. Would her mama be on Christina’s drawing and Ruth’s? Could she and Christian possibly be more alike than different?
Ruth was a good student, the best reader in the class and loved astronomy. She was a good listener, a willing friend. They were studying about stars. The reason stars look so small in the night sky is because they’re so far away from us.
"Her teacher had said that when we look at a star, we’re looking backward in time. We’re seeing a moment that happened millions of years ago."
What if in the future they had a piece of the moment Ruth was living right now? It made her feel like yesterday and tomorrow weren’t all that far away from each other. What if there was a bigger world than her world- bigger than the boundaries of her imagination.
Soon she finds others look at her different. Some do not like her color. They are mean and mistreat her. All her hopes and dreams are soon shattered. Ruth happened to be on the outskirts of the universe.
“That was all it took. That chink in the foundation, that work of a question—for Ruth to peek behind the fancy wrapping of the story she’d created in her own mind. The justification, the wishful thinking—it swept away by the broom of doubt, like so much smoke. “
Ruth felt as though her life was like Cinderella, turning back into her rags with her pumpkin.
She learns early on (firsthand) she is in the middle of two universes. She does not want to be in Harlem as she does not fit in, as a light milky cream color and wants a better education. Nor does she fit in a white world at Dalton. Ruth is smart and wants to learn, unlike her sister, Rachel. She is even a much lighter color than her sister.
She must learn to navigate between the two worlds and hope like the stars, no matter where you stand you will be under the same light. She wants to be "seen" beneath her color.
What a great book and a great intro!
I had the opportunity of receiving an advance reading copy of Coming Oct 11 SMALL GREAT THINGS (Top Books of 2016), which I read prior to the release of SHINE. I absolutely fell in love with Ruth as an adult and sympathized with all the challenges she had to overcome. It further enhanced my overall experience, when then getting to return to Ruth’s childhood to learn of her journey from the start.From the eyes of a child.
Picoult is such a dynamic author (have read all her books). She always does a fabulous job in packaging her books, offering insights into childhood and adulthood. Two different views. Highly recommend reading both (in any order you choose). They will "change" the way you think. Soul-Searching.
Includes a preview of Jodi Picoult’s highly anticipated new novel, Small Great Things!