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Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum



Good Kings Bad Kings follows the lives of residents at the ILLC, an institution for juveniles with disabilities, where friendships are forged, trust is built, and love affairs begin, all despite an atmosphere of neglect and abuse. In this alliance the residents of ILLC ultimately find the strength to resist their mistreatment and fight back. With humor and an authentic eye, Good Kings Bad Kings tells the story of their struggle for dignity and self-determination.

Winner of the 2012 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.


My Review
The story whirls in and around a cast of characters who find themselves either working or living at The Illinois Learning and Life Skills Centre, their narratives are in first person and told alternately in different chapters. The centre caters for eighty young institutionalised crips.
You learn of their days there and their mannerisms. The way the centre worked in this story has you think on the more serious problems out here in the real world dealing with the way the vulnerable and sick are sometimes victim to abuse, carelessness, inadequate and unprofessional treatment and care.
There are some scenes of ill treatment and so be advised.
Well written with memorable characters, a tale that leaves you with a possibly warmer heart for others with disabilities and less ignorance on the what their daily life may entail.

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 28 May 2013