Good Kings Bad Kings — Susan Nussbaum
I loved Good Kings Bad Kings and could not put it down. Each chapter is told from a different point of view. Either one of the kids who are in the institution, which this book is really about, or from one of the workers who helps the kids as much as they can. It follows the story of how the children are treated and who has a voice for them. Teddy, who is almost 22, tells his story of how he is trying to be moved to a different facility when his birthday comes around. Even though the odds are stacked against him, because of the company who runs the institution he is in and their monopoly on the other places like it. Yessenia’s grandmother, who was taking care of her, died so she was put in to the institution and manages to get into a large amount of trouble.
The way Nussbaum tells the story really lets you understand what these people are going through on a daily basis and shows how horrible the conditions are at the institution they are in. It transports you to the the rooms with them. I was feeling the emotions they were going through and wanted to be their cheerleader at times. I felt extremely connected to them. It is no wonder this novel won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.
This book is probably one of my favorite reads so far this year.
**** (Four Stars)