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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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  • 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!!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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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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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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Worst Jodi Picolt book ever

I understand that this was a short story, but it is very preachy. Every word written feels like a set up for how racist these white people are and How put upon this poor little black girl is. It’s kind of ridiculous. We all know the history of race relations in the US but this is very overt to the point of ruining the characterization.

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Write what you know

I love this author but being a black female, I felt like it was a bit contrived. First of all a third grader with spelling words like corn would not be this poignant in knowing what is going on. I was in the same situation, but didn’t figure out what things meant until much later in life. This child does not act or speak like a child and it bothers me.

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short but so poignant

as indicated in the book description, this is a short take but a poignant one. it is a tale of injustice and prejudice at the cost of a little girl's ability to give her own identity.

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Lovely

So well written and true. I usually don’t read short stories and this one was the exception. I could feel Rut’s hurt and successes. I truly hated for it to end.

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I want more!

I loved Jody‘s book, Small Great Things. When I read that this was a snippet into Ruth’s childhood I really wanted to read it. It was excellent and I liked reading about Ruth as a child. I only wish that it had been hundreds of pages longer so I could have gotten to know little Ruth better.

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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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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.