Big L Hotel

The story is written in diary-style using audio recordings. This is the journal of thirteen-year-old Kos, who lives at a hotel with his father and three sisters. He loves to play soccer and is enamored with a girl in his class named Isabel. His mother passed away from cancer three years agoKos has his own problems with each of his siblings  he uses the phrase ‘gone off the deep end’ to refer to themThe eldest sister, Libbie, is nineteen and trying to take on a motherly role to her siblings as she falls in love with a melancholic poet who stays at the hotel. Breek is fifteen and a goth; she wears only blackpaints her face like a canvas, and adapts fairytales to rock music. Pel, the youngest, is nine years oldShe wears her mother’s clothing as pajamassings the songs her mother used to sing, and keeps an assortment of dead animals around herThe little girl has accepted death as a transformation and has become friends with death; maybe it’s her way of getting over her mother’s passing

In Kosun Hotel, there are three semi-dead men. One of them is Walput, the hippie chef who decorates his kitchen with posters of rock bands from 60 years ago and spends his free time tweaking his motorcycleFelix, the one Libbie falls in love with, spends his days in the bar looking out to the sea writing poems on beer matsAccording to Pel, he will walk off one day when his money runs out and die in the sea. Felix loves this storyThe third semi-dead man is Kosun father. He’s always drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, and gets a heart attackNow, three girls and Kos are running the hotelOn the same day they started changing the old name of the hotel to a new one but they ran out of time before they could finish it. So it stays “Big L Hotel

While Kos was managing the customers, Little Pel hopped behind the bar to serve wine from enormous beer mugsShe was too short to see over the counter, so she had to jump and hop aroundHer mouth did not stay still either, as she regaled the customers with every kind of weird death-related fact she knew, leaving them all a shade paler than beforeIn her sweet and innocent voice she spoke of Felix turning blue and sinking into the sea, or how snakes would come out of his eyes and his flesh would be eaten by lobsters and crabsThen she introduced the customers her pet zombie rabbit, which she had named Zombie. Libbie went to her father’s room to tried and find out who could help them. But all they discovered was that they had seven thousand dollars in debts that they had to pay within seven days or they would lose all their possessionsThey couldn’t tell their father anything because he needed to remain calm for his recoverySo they lied, telling him that an assistant from the insurance company had been sent to help and everything was going according to planMeanwhile, the customers find caterpillars between the unchanged sheets had all fled without looking back and posted truly horrible reviews about the hotel

Then, all of a sudden, an Ajax talent scout had come to watch Kos soccer game and made it clear that he was interested in the boy. Isabel, with whom Kos was in love, was also paying attention to him. Isabel is invited to a beauty pageant and the winner will getfive thousand dollarsThis money could possibly save the Big L Hotel hotel. But in the end Kos ends up entering the beauty pageant by himself and even outshines Isabel. He then runs off to the soccer match and scores two goals, with the make up on her face being mistaken for a maskThus, she becomes the first ever male to win a beauty pageantbe accepted into a professional league, and to win the girl of his dreams. os uses the money for paying his fathers debts. Big L Hotel turns into Big Love Hotel. And with that, Kos ends the recording

When I was reading the book, there was no age range specifiedI thought the cover and topic were appropriate for a nine-year-old, but then:

there were explicit song lyrics

Kos drinks (but doesn’t likechampagne and wears a very short Scottish kilt while serving customers

-A complaint about a bug found in someone’s bed, someonesaying “Maybe your wife mixed him up with your little one,” –

Breek beingcaught by a teammate while changingfrom girls’ to boys’ clothes with a bra in her hand and saying “I had sex before the game” as an excuse… 

These could all be a bit much even for a ten-year-oldOn the other hand, the book is so beautifulcolorful, and one-of-a-kind…and it has such an original and openminded vibe… In fact, it reminded me of Little Miss Sunshine. When I heard that it was also made into a movie, it all fell into placeThis crazy, one of a kind Dutch book is sure to be an example of good independent cinema.

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