Good Kings Bad Kings

( 2 )

Overview

Told in alternating perspectives by a varied and vocal cast of characters, Nussbaum pulls back the curtain to reveal the complicated and funny and tough life inside the walls of an institution for juveniles with disabilities. From Yessenia Lopez, who dreams of her next boyfriend and of one day of living outside those walls, to Teddy, a resident who dresses up daily in a full suit and tie, to Mia, who guards a terrifying secret, Nussbaum has crafted a multifaceted portrait of a way of life hidden from most of us. ...

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Good Kings Bad Kings: A Novel

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Overview

Told in alternating perspectives by a varied and vocal cast of characters, Nussbaum pulls back the curtain to reveal the complicated and funny and tough life inside the walls of an institution for juveniles with disabilities. From Yessenia Lopez, who dreams of her next boyfriend and of one day of living outside those walls, to Teddy, a resident who dresses up daily in a full suit and tie, to Mia, who guards a terrifying secret, Nussbaum has crafted a multifaceted portrait of a way of life hidden from most of us. In this isolated human warehouse on Chicago’s South Side, friendships are forged, trust is built, and love affairs begin. And it’s in their alliances that the residents ultimately find the strength to bond together and finally fight back against their mistreatment.

Told with humor and authenticity in voices that stay with you long past the last page, Good Kings, Bad Kings is at once strikingly original, baldly funny, and profoundly moving.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“The full-cast production features the vocal talents of seven exceptional readers. . . . Expect both the book and audio to make year-end best lists.”
Booklist [starred review]
The Washington Post
“The full-cast production features the vocal talents of seven exceptional readers. . . . Expect both the book and audio to make year-end best lists.”
Booklist [starred review]
Wisconsin Bookwatch
“A wonderful vehicle for audio, with engaging, heartrending performances by a talented cast of actors. . . . Enlightening listening.”
AudioFile
Sound Commentary
“A compelling and authentic vision of life in facilities for the disabled. . . . Mature young adults will appreciate the journey of these strong young people.”
Library Journal
From the Publisher
“Nussbaum wonderfully sweetens a stark subject with doses of idiosyncratic humor and hard-earned pathos. . . . [She] upholds the individuality and integrity of her characters, never stooping to saccharine clichés or Hollywood manipulation. . . . [A] moving story.”
Washington Post

“Vividly brought to life by a cast of seven talented performers.”
Wisconsin Bookwatch

Good King, Bad Kings has seven narrators who bring their situations to life. Each narrator was carefully selected for his/her skillful, emotional portrayal of the individual’s personality.”
Sound Commentary

Booklist
“Nussbaum charms, outrages, and enlightens readers as she cycles among . . . characters, boldly contrasting the transcendence of love with the harsh realities of a negligent for-profit nursing home. This is unquestionably an authentic, galvanizing, and righteous novel.”
Booklist [HC starred review]
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781622311347
  • Publisher: HighBridge Company
  • Publication date: 5/28/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged; 7.75 hours
  • Pages: 465
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 5.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Nussbaum

Susan Nussbaum’s plays have been widely produced. Her play Mishuganismo is included in the anthology Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out. In 2008 she was cited by the Utne Reader as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” for her work with girls with disabilities. This is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 15, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I received this book from LibraryThing in exchange for a fair an

    I received this book from LibraryThing in exchange for a fair and honest review, which is awesome because this book rocked my socks off and I read it in a day.
    Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum was such an amazing book. I not only thought it was wonderful, but it also won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaging Fiction.

    Good Kings Bad Kings is a story about people with disabilities, mainly teenagers and children, who find themselves in a "nursing home" for kids with disabilities.

    The novel is told from many perspectives, all connected in some way, and shows the neglect and corruption that can be found at many (but not all, I'm sure!) nursing home facilities. Some of that is based on lack of funding, while other parts are based on disgusting, horrible individuals.

    But the characters are so real and spunky!

    Yessenia is in a wheelchair, physically disabled, but if you cross her, she will totally knock you out.

    Joanne has both a physical disability and a trust fund, but when she decides to work an admin job at the kid nursing home, her life completely changes for the better.

    Ricky is a fully-abled bus driver at the home, but realizes his job is consisting more and more of disciplining the kids, and in ways he doesn't always agree with.

    The LA Review of books said that Good Kings Bad Kings was a "knockout" - and I have to agree 100%.

    Susan Nussbaum realized that most of the novels we know about that include people with disabilities were written by able-bodied people. When she was disabled in an accident, her life changed. And after writing numerous plays, this is her first novel. And wow, what a success it is!

    Good Kings Bad Kings is one of the best books I read in 2013 (even though the review is being published in 2014!).

    Thanks for reading, 

    Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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