Reading guide for Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Good Kings Bad Kings

by Susan Nussbaum

Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum X
Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2013, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2013, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Bob Sauerbrey
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. 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
  2. Discuss the relationship of Jimmie and Yessie. What does Jimmie derive from their relationship? What does Yessie get from Jimmie?
  3. How do the disabled characters in this book compare with disabled characters in other books you've read?
  4. Why do you think the author used a first-person narrator approach to telling the story?
  5. Is it unusual to hear disabled characters tell their own stories? Why or why not? How might this impact the way you view disabled people in real life?
  6. How does Joanne's perspective on things change over the course of the novel, and why? Does she think differently about love? About her disability? About her ability to change things?
  7. The book makes the argument that institutionalization is cruel and inhuman. Why does our society continue to rely so heavily on institutionalization as a resource for disabled children?
  8. The book makes the argument that abuse and neglect are a natural outcome of the institutional structure. Do you think institutions such as the Illinois Learning and Life Skills Center are still reasonable living alternatives for disabled people? What are some other possible alternatives to institutionalization?
  9. What role does paternalism play in the lives of disabled people? Can you give some examples?
  10. The book talks a lot about jobs: job discrimination, jobs with low pay, overwork, relationships with coworkers, past jobs, and even possible future jobs. How important is your job in your life? Since more than 70 percent of disabled people experience chronic unemployment, how might this affect their adult lives?
  11. If you could predict what some of the characters' lives would be like ten years from now, what might they be doing and where would they be? Yessenia? Jimmie? Louie? Pierre? Mia?
  12. There is frequent debate concerning whether white writers can authentically represent characters of other races in their work. Disabled people often complain that books written by nondisabled writers can't authentically represent disabled characters. Considering this book and others, what's your opinion on this issue?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Algonquin Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Fiction as Social Catalyst

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Price We Pay
    The Price We Pay
    by Marty Makary
    The Hippocratic Oath is one of the oldest affidavits in history, originating in ancient Greece. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Fountains of Silence
    The Fountains of Silence
    by Ruta Sepetys
    The Spanish Civil War and its aftermath was a complicated period in history. The issues each side ...
  • Book Jacket: Curious Toys
    Curious Toys
    by Elizabeth Hand
    In Curious Toys, Elizabeth Hand tells the story of Vivian, a 14-year-old girl disguised as a boy ...
  • Book Jacket: Your House Will Pay
    Your House Will Pay
    by Steph Cha
    Steph Cha's novel Your House Will Pay shows how a legacy of violence and injustice can ripple ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Nothing to See Here
    by Kevin Wilson

    A moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning caring for two children with remarkable abilities.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Home for Erring and Outcast Girls

From the author of
Calling Me Home

An emotionally raw and resonant story of two young women connected by a home for "fallen girls," and inspired by historical events.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W G Up M C D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.