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Publisher's Summary

Jodi Picoult tackles issues of race and privilege in this original short story, a prequel to her upcoming novel Small Great Things.

In "Shine", the master storyteller and New York Times best-selling author of Leaving Time and My Sister's Keeper introduces listeners to the unforgettable Ruth Brooks. Today is Ruth's first day of third grade at Dalton. The prestigious institution on New York's Upper East Side couldn't be more different from her old school in Harlem. Despite being the smartest girl in her grade, Ruth suspects that her classmates and teachers see only her dark skin. She also notices that Christina, the daughter of her mother's employer, treats Ruth very differently when they're hanging out with the popular girls rather than playing together. Ruth must navigate between two worlds, never losing sight of the dreams she has for herself - in hopes that someday someone will see her for who she really is.

©2016 Jodi Picoult (P)2016 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jeanjie
  • Jupiter, FL United States
  • 01-10-17

Empathy provoking!

A lovely story of coping in a environment designed for others. How unfair and cruel children (and adults!) can be to those who are different! The narrator did an excellent job. I was sad that the story was ended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • olivia
  • HOUSTON, TX, US
  • 10-16-16

Outstanding!

This story takes me back years ago when I was a third grader... I wanted a yellow ponytail. I thought - "myself if I could only have a yellow ponytail that swung when I walked, I would be just as good". Well, I'm 70 now and I still have short black hair and I know I am "just as good"! Bravo Jodi!!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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The Perfect Pairing

Jodi Picoult and Audra McDonald is the most wonderful pairing I never knew I needed. As usual, Jodi Picoult’s story is beautiful and heartbreaking all at once and SUCH a good addition to Small Great Things. And I could listen to Audra McDonald all day - singing or speaking! She tells the story so wonderfully, you really feel like you’re sitting with Ruth, hearing her tell it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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love the author....not the narrator

I really struggled with this. I'm glad I got this before buying Small Great Things since it's narrated by the same person. I'll just read this book myself because I can't stand this narrator for some reason.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A good "Listen"

What a great way to spend an hour listening to a good story. I really enjoyed the ending. Not to be a spoiler,
but it had a perfect ending and I will listen to it again and again.
Annette Collins

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    4 out of 5 stars

Ended too soon!

I didn’t realize this was a prequel to Small Great Things which is also on my ‘to be read’ list until I got ready to leave a review. Now knowing this I feel better because I really didn’t want the book to end. Lol! This was a really well-written short story by Piccoult and I was instantly drawn into these characters from the very beginning. Audra McDonald did a fabulous job narrating and breathing life into all of the characters. I’m so glad the story continues with Small Great Things because I wasn’t a fan of how it ended sort of abruptly. Now I understand but I still wanted Ruth to go to school with the headband on and see the reaction of her peers, and I wish she could’ve tapped into her own bright star and shined for her schoolmates and family to see. Overall the book was quite enjoyable and I do look forward to hearing more from this author.

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Simple narrative with good storytelling

Jodi Picoult's greatest strength, in long form, is weaving a compelling and complex narrative. In short form, she has much less opportunity to do that. But the story is told well, and Audra McDonald is always a personal favorite.

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Too short!

Any additional comments?

This is a very short story about Ruth from Small Great Things. It was a good story, I just wanted more. Having already listened to Small Great Things, I really wanted to hear where she started. I didn't (but should have) realize when I purchased it that it was a short story.

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Interesting beginning

Would you listen to Shine again? Why?

Yes I would listen again. It was beautifully written and Audra McDonald gave a wonderful reading.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Shine?

There were several moments for me: the article, the teacher's aide inability to remember names, and the ending with the headband.

What does Audra McDonald bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

You can hear the emotions in her voice. When the grandmother is drunk and angry, you hear that anguish and pain in Audra McDonald's voice. Even with the mom at the end of the story. Gifted and talented voice actress.

If you could take any character from Shine out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Grandmother. She has a lot of stories to tell.

Any additional comments?

Beautiful story by Jodi Picoult. Audra McDonald's voice seems to perfectly add to this delicate coming of age story.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Gorgeous as always for picoult

Preface to Small Great Things. Worth reading... I wish there was a bit more, but I'll take what i can get. Smal Great Things was one of her best, in my opinion. I'd have loved to know even more about young Ruth though...