Worth every minute. Contemporary fiction that reads more like real life. Racism is at the core of this story seen from the lens of a black nurse – Ruth, a white supremacist father – Turk and the public defender- Kennedy.
Life lessons are plentiful and I immediately felt drawn to Ruth. The indignity she endured. I was outraged. I wanted to go to battle with her. I wanted her story to be heard. Yet all the while I asked myself who am I? I’ve got no idea what it’s like. I’m privileged. Through luck of the draw, I was born this way. I wondered how could I use my privilege to make a difference?
The author offers “When it comes to social justice, the role of the white ally is not to be a savior or a fixer. Instead, the role of the ally is to find other white people and talk to make them see that many of the benefits they’ve enjoyed in life are direct results of the fact that someone else did not have the same benefits.”
Kennedy says “She doesn’t need my advice because really who am I to give it when I haven’t lived her life?”
I am Kennedy.
As usual with Picoult the relationships are deep and overlapping. Mother and daughter (Ruth and her mother. Kennedy and hers). Sisters – Ruth and Adisa. Mother and son (Ruth and Edison. Brit and Davis). Father and daughter (Francis and Brit, Micah and Violet). Coworkers and supervisor. Neighbors and other assorted characters making the story. Real. Gritty. Hard to admit.
Here are two of my favorite lines from the book:
- … that really to make her see with her own eyes how love has nothing to do with what you’re looking at and everything to do with who’s looking
- We all do it, you know. Distract ourselves from noticing how time is passing. We throw ourselves into our jobs. (That’s so me!) We focus on keeping blight off our tomato plants. (That’s so Billy Bob). We fill up our gas tanks and top off our metro cards and do the grocery shopping so that the weeks look the same on the surface. And then one day you turn around and your baby is a man. One day you look in the mirror and see gray hair. One day you realize there’s less of your life left than you’ve already lived. And you think, how did that happen so fast?
There’s so much more to say but there really are no words to say it and the adage of actions speak louder than words really does apply here. Read the book if you’re so inclined.
As always, more to come.