Book Review: “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult

The Lowdown:

Small Great Things” is told with frank honesty, thus is quite a heavy, challenging read. In true Jodi Picoult style, the novel deals with a compelling moral dilemma and intractable social justice issues. Set in contemporary America, the novel tackles racism, inequality and prejudice. Ruth, an innocent African-American labour and delivery nurse, finds herself faced with the consequences of a medical incident involving the death of an infant child belonging to white supremacists. Offering very different angles of events, and insights into differing life circumstances that have each led the characters to be who they are, the story is told from three different points of view – the African-American nurse, Ruth; her Caucasian lawyer, Kennedy; and the late infant’s white supremacist father, Turk. Throughout Ruth’s trial, she and Kennedy work on gaining each other’s trust –  great introspection is achieved through each of their perspectives in the novel; both Ruth and Kennedy have to question their beliefs and what they have been taught about others and themselves. Through Turk’s perspective, Picoult explores the radical ideas behind white supremacy, and beliefs behind their immoral social behaviours. Overall, the novel is quite thought-provoking, brutal at times, and an important narrative. Continue reading

Adventure Awaits, Hidden in the Warburton Valley

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East Warburton Redwood Forest, Victoria

One of Victoria’s hidden gems is the Redwood Forest, east of the Warburton Valley. Without any official signage, besides on Google Maps, the forest has an aura of a secret, mystical place. The moment you step foot into the forest, you are instantly faced with a sense of calmness and wonder. The trees were planted in perfect rows that soften the noise of the outside world. Walking through the forest, all you can hear is the sounds of the birds that you cannot see, chirping away in the towering canopy above. The magnificent Redwood trees make you feel so small. In this way nature really has a way of putting things in perspective. It’s a beautiful place to explore, to sit and think, to have a picnic. A sense of clarity comes with being in the wilderness. There is no phone or data reception in the Redwood forest, but you will find a better connection.

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The towering canopy of Redwoods

Now Heritage listed in Victoria, the Californian Redwoods – Sequoia sempervirens, were planted in the 1930s by the Board of Works for experimental purposes, to study the canopy interception results in comparison with native forest trees. There are over 1,476 trees all planted in an aesthetically pleasing grid, some trees reaching up to 55 metres! Continue reading