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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Good Kings, Bad Kings

Good Kings Bad Kings: A Novel - Susan Nussbaum

Good Kings, Bad Kings is aptly titled as it reminded me of a game of chess. In this novel, the pieces have been meticulously laid out—the advocate, the abuser, the scammer, the victim, the lesbian, the bishop, the pawn—and all the moves are predetermined, characters are not allowed to make their own decisions. It's set in a home for adolescents with disabilities. All these elements together make the novel a bit too much like an after-school special for my taste.

 

I liked the author's choice of using a first-person, rotating point of view. I'm a fan of multiple povs in a work. Unfortunately, it wasn't done all that well here. Each characters sounds nearly the same. No matter their background, they spoke within the same spectrum of street-talking, no-nonsense, WhachootalkinboutWillis speech.

 

And there was this thing with statements being questions that I didn't understand?

 

Good Kings, Bad Kings is well-intentioned. The author's passion for the subject and her concern for youths with disabilities is evident. Therefore, I'd recommend the novel to those looking for a feel-good, movie-of-the-week experience. Fans of simple YA will probably enjoy it too. On a bad day, this is the sort of novel I'd probably give two stars, but I've had a good day, so there it is.