By: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 9/13/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars Jodi Picoult tackles issues of race and privilege in this ebook original short story, a prequel to her upcoming novel Small Great Things. In “Shine,” the master storyteller and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Time and My Sister’s Keeper introduces readers to the unforgettable Ruth Brooks. Today is Ruth’s first day of third grade at Dalton. The prestigious institution on New York’s Upper East Side couldn’t be more different from her old school in Harlem. Despite being the smartest girl in her grade, Ruth suspects that her classmates and teachers only see her dark skin. She also notices that Christina, the daughter of her mother’s employer, treats Ruth very differently when they’re hanging out with the popular girls rather than playing together. Ruth must navigate between two worlds, never losing sight of the dreams she has for herself—in hopes that someday, someone will see her for who she really is. Includes a preview of Jodi Picoult’s highly anticipated new novel, Small Great Things!
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 differently. 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 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!
Praise for Jodi Picoult “Picoult writes with unassuming brilliance.”—Stephen King “It’s hard to exaggerate how well Picoult writes.”—Financial Times “Picoult writes with a fine touch, a sharp eye for detail, and a firm grasp of the delicacy and complexity of human relationships.”—The Boston Globe “Picoult is a master of the craft of storytelling.”—Associated Press
Small Great Things
Coming Oct 11, 2016
(Just Finished)--5 Stars +
Top Books of the Year!
In her highly-anticipated new novel, SMALL GREAT THINGS, Jodi tackles the profoundly challenging yet essential concerns of our time: prejudice, race, and justice. more
People Magazine exclusive —Jodi Picoult's new novel about racism was 'one of the hardest' she's ever written “Jodi Picoult has dealt with weighty issues such as teenagers with leukemia in My Sister's Keeper and child sexual abuse in Perfect Match. Now, in her latest novel, she's covering another pressing topic: racism in the United States”.
Read the …full article
"Picoult’s gripping tale is told from three points of view, that of Ruth, Kennedy and Turk, and 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)
About the Author
Jodi Picoult, 50, is the bestselling author of twenty-three novels: Songs of the Humpback Whale (1992), Harvesting the Heart(1994), Picture Perfect (1995), Mercy (1996),
The Pact (1998),Keeping Faith (1999), Plain Truth (2000), Salem Falls (2001), Perfect Match (2002), Second Glance (2003), My Sister's Keeper (2004),Vanishing Acts (2005), The Tenth Circle (2006), Nineteen Minutes(2007), Change of Heart (2008), Handle With Care (2009), House Rules (2010), Sing You Home (2011),
Lone Wolf (2012), The Storyteller (2013), Leaving Time(2014), and the YA novels Between The Lines (2012), and Off The Page (2015), co-written with her daughter Samantha van Leer. Her last eight novels have debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Her highly anticipated novel-in-progress, Small Great Things, will be released this fall as follows: October 11, 2016 (US/Canada), October 12, 2016 (Australia), and November 22, 2016 (UK). Read More