Books: Comfort food for the winter months
By Kimberly Dunbar
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult’s most recent book, Small Great Things (Ballantine Books), is inspired by a Martin Luther King, Jr., quote: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” And that is exactly what Picoult does with this book, a timely and honest story of racism and hate in America. Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse with more than 20 years of experience, but she finds herself taken off a case per request of the baby’s parents; they’re white supremacists who don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. But when the baby goes into cardiac distress the next day, Ruth is alone in the nursery and hesitates before performing CPR, leading her to be charged with a serious crime. Picoult will make you uncomfortable and question your own beliefs because of her candid take on race, privilege, prejudice, justice and compassion. Though the book is about black versus white, Picoult paints many shades of gray with her intelligent writing and multidimensional characters. It’s unlike any Picoult book I’ve read, and it’ll keep you thinking long after you’ve finished.
Will You Won’t You Want Me? by Nora Zelevansky
Sometimes you have to lose it all to find what out who you really are. This is exactly what Marjorie Plum finds out in Nora Zelevansky’s latest, Will You Won’t You Want Me? (St. Martin’s Griffin). Ten years after her reign as high school Queen Bee ends, Marjorie finds herself unemployed, temporarily homeless and at odds with her childhood best friends. The only bright spot is a renewed interest in a budding relationship with an old crush. Marjorie slowly rebuilds her life, and is on the verge of regaining her place in her old, upper-crust world, when the pull of her new life causes her to question who she really wants to be. Zelevansky has written an enjoyable coming-of-age tale showcasing the real struggle of being 20-something, leaving the past behind and finding your place in the world.
Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks
Twenty years after publishing his first novel, The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks still knows how to make his readers cry. In his latest, Two By Two (Grand Central Publishing), Sparks sticks to his signature style of storytelling, crafting a heartfelt tale around real challenges people face in life and love. At 32, Russell Green is living the dream – he has a beautiful wife, adorable daughter and a successful advertising career. But when Russ suddenly finds himself without a job or wife and left to care for 5-year-old London, he struggles to adapt to his new normal. Russ, who is dubbed a “people pleaser” and a “doormat” by his sister, Marge, tries to weather the worst year of his life with support from his family. Though his estranged wife (the intensely unlikeable Vivian) doesn’t make it any easier, Russ’s journey as a single father – both terrifying and rewarding – will test his abilities beyond anything he ever imagined.