Good Kings Bad Kings
By Susan Nussbaum
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Hardcover, 9781616202637, 336pp.)
Publication Date: May 1, 2013
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This powerful and inspiring debut invites us into a landscape populated with young people whose lives have been irreversibly changed by misfortune but whose voices resound with resilience, courage, and humor. Inside the halls of ILLC, an institution for juveniles with disabilities, we discover a place that is deeply different from and yet remarkably the same as the world outside. Nussbaum crafts a multifaceted portrait of a way of life hidden from most of us. In this isolated place on Chicago’s South Side, friendships are forged, trust is built, and love affairs begin. It’s in these alliances that the residents of this neglected community ultimately find the strength to bond together, resist their mistreatment, and finally fight back. And in the process, each is transformed.
- Discuss the title of the book, and the passage that it comes from (page 135). How does this title relate to various characters in the novel?
“This is fiction at its best. The story’s sharp eye allows no one to take shelter, and it doesn’t flinch; it is simply and breathtakingly honest . . . A stunning accomplishment." - Barbara Kingsolver
“[Nussbaum’s] novel is all fierce energy and wit, a celebration of strength, dignity, and the cathartic pleasure of telling it like it is.” - Rosellen Brown, author of Before and After
"“A mighty first novel . . . Authentic, galvanizing, and righteous.” - Booklist, starred review
“Funny, heartbreaking, and inspiring . . . A stirring debut from a determined writer and activist.” - Publishers Weekly
“Nussbaum’s vivid portraits . . . reveal the three-dimensional humanity of people the rest of society is all too willing to neglect and ignore . . . A most appropriate winner of the 2012 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.” - Kirkus Reviews