Book Reviews

Kinderkrankenhaus by Jesi Bender

What Da Cover Says: In a vaguely familiar time and place, children gathered inside the grey walls of a hospital are given diagnoses they don’t understand and told to work towards correcting their ills, or face the consequences. Kinderkrankenhaus explores neurodiversity, the pathologizing of difference, and the complexity of labels in a world where the unspeaking are seen as unthinking. Can the children learn to live in this place where concepts like love are indefinable but they are still expected to know when something does not conform to its boundaries?

What I Says: First things first….this is a play…personally I’m not a fan of reading plays, I prefer to go and watch them, I ain’t clever enough to understand how you read a play. Secondly….Holy crap this was good! I now 100% completely understand the appeal of reading a play, this was so vivid in it’s descriptions, in it’s setting of the scene and atmosphere that I probably couldn’t cope with actually watching this as a play. I was so impressed with how easy it was to picture the scene in my head, a few lines and I was there, I could sense the smoke and picture the characters, as scenes changed it was easy to follow along. The children come across as so small and fragile whilst the doctor is an imposing giant.

So what is the play all about? It is about the power of words, how you can use them to manipulate your reality, how you can rearrange the words and alter their meaning and it’s also about using those words correctly to fit in…at least that’s what I think. I like how the bigger words appear for the audience to see as well as hear, the children often say the same word but different spellings are used, the audience would be unaware of these differences. The Kinderkrankenhaus is a hospital for children who don’t fit in with what is normal, those that struggle to communicate in “the normal way” are sent here. The newest child to arrive is the wonderfully named Gnome (more a label than a name and it doesn’t give any indication of identity), they don’t understand why they are there and it breaks your heart to see them struggle to grasp their new surroundings. I’m sure I’m way off with my understanding of what is going on but that doesn’t matter, for a while I was caught up in events and that’s what a good play does.

Thanks to Sagging Meniscus for sending me a copy, if you want to give it a go then you can get it from HERE:


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