Title: It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Author: Ned Vizzini
Pages: 448 Pages
Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That’s when things start to get crazy.
At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn’t brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping-until, one night, he nearly kills himself.
Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbours include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. For a novel about depression, it’s definitely a funny story.
Mental health amongst teenagers is a subject of much contention. It is frequently debated in the news and more and more we are seeing young adults becoming a victim of depression and other mental health diseases. Sadly, even though it is more common now, the stigma attached to mental health issues is still rampant.
This is why novels like It’s Kind of a Funny Story are so important. Furthermore, it is writers like Ned Vizzini who have drawn from personal experiences that make novels like It’s Kind of a Funny Story have a level of authenticity to them. A verisimilitude off what it is actually like to suffer from depression.
I, myself, suffer from anxiety. I am fortunate enough to know the root of my anxiety. It comes from my medical condition Ulcerative Colitis. Being away from available bathrooms is mental torture. I won’t travel long distances by car for fear of getting stuck in traffic thus causing panic about lack of bathroom availability which ironically causes the need for bathroom availability. Walking is a nightmare; a 13 minute walk from my house to a relatives house is as near to mental torture as you can get as it feels like you are walking the distance of a marathon.
All of this is irrelevant really but if you have never felt anxiety or mental health worries then maybe this has just given you a brief window into what it is like. If you want an honest and more insightful view then you need to read It’s Kind of a Funny Story. It is warm, funny, sad and strangely uplifting.
A sad fact regarding the book is that Ned Vizzini sadly succumbed to his depression by committing suicide. His book gave so much hope that it is really heartbreaking that he couldn’t stave off his own demons.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini is available now.
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