I opened my email this morning, to read a gratifying piece of news. The Maine State Library just recently did a survey regarding trust in professionals and found that librarians rank near the top of the list. Of all respondents, 78% ranked librarians as high/very high in trustworthiness. Only nurses ranked higher. For more information, access the study here.
But I digress, you’re here because you want to know what I’m reading. I just finished Faithful by Alice Hoffman. If you like quirky, it’s a lovely little book to read during the holidays. It’s a realistic novel, not overly cloying or sentimental, but ultimately hopeful. It strikes me as a departure for Hoffman and a perfect book to share with an older teen. Shelby and Helene are high school seniors. Best friends and beautiful, they’re the dream team, destined for good things in life. That is, until one night Shelby is driving and there is a terrible accident which leaves Helene in a coma. Shelby has a nervous breakdown, shaves off her beautiful hair, and retreats from the world to her parents’ basement. Our story begins ten years later. Helene is ensconced in her never-changing pink bedroom cared for by her loving parents. Pilgrims visit her for her rumored “healing” powers. Shelby never, ever visits. Meanwhile, Shelby’s life is on hold. Even though no one blames her, she is still paying penance for an accident she feels is her fault. Lest I tell you too much, let me just say the reader gets to witness Shelby’s first tentative steps to heal and create a life for herself. This redemptive story will renew your faith in the power of love and friendship in the face of devastating human tragedy.
I’m listening to one of the most powerful stories I’ve read in a long time. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult examines race in America from all sides. Picoult is known for her first person “topical” novels narrated by multiple characters. They are up close and personal novels. Ruth is an experienced and competent OB/GYN nurse. A couple who are white supremacists enter the hospital to have their baby. When Ruth, who is black, enters the room to care for the baby and mother, they ask that she be removed from the case. The charge nurse enters a note on the baby’s chart that no African-American personnel should care for the baby and mother. However, several days later there is an emergency and Ruth is left supervising the child for a few minutes. He goes into cardiac arrest and Ruth’s hesitates for a short time before starting life-saving procedures because she has been told she is off the case. She ends up being charged criminally for the death of the baby and that’s when the story really heats up. The narration is excellent and I would recommend the audiobook.