Small Great Things
Opinion in short:
This isn’t a “work book” in the normal sense. But it’s a book that will certainly twist your dials and get you thinking. It’s a book about racism – but it rocks! It’s not technical or academic in the usual sense, but it has sooo much to say.
It’s a compelling story that tackles all the major issues…and then some. I read it in a couple of days over the holidays and loved it. Comparisons with “To Kill A Mockingbird” shouldn’t be made lightly. But they can be made here with some merit.
- Accessible – it’s a novel so has none of that tortuous language associated with “work books”
- Confronts the issues head on. Most notably the idea that even those of us who would protest our non-racist credentials have a lot still to learn.
- The characters are believable and the play off between the two black sisters – one who’s tried to assimilate to white U.S. culture and one who hasn’t – is a brilliant move that really helps show the tensions of thinking for people of colour around racism. I particularly liked the way the white power movement was unpacked for us as we learn the background to the story’s protagonist.
- It’s a compelling story that bears reading regardless of the topic. The chapters each take the view of one of the characters, so the story updates across the cast as you go along – nice approach, I felt.
- Doesn’t shy away from the issues that often get missed – like the over-lapping issues of colour and poverty, the enmeshed bias of the judicial system and the whole notion of “colour-blindness.”
- It’s set in the USA so there are cultural translations to be made for a non-U.S. reader, but this is a minor point and not one which impedes the reading art all, in my view.
- Some of the characters are a little too good to be true. One can see why this helps the telling of the story, but I would have liked a slightly less worthy central character.
- The ending is too neat, but then I only raise this in retrospect. At the time, because I was reading for pleasure, I wanted the neat ending! :0)
This is a cracking good read that will entertain and poke you in the ribs at the same time. Very good book!
Get it here:
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