“Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life – which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.”
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a novel by Ned Vizzini from 2006 about the fifteen year old guy Craig Gilner who ends up suffering from severe depression. The first part of the book shows how Craig slowly becomes depressed because of all of the pressure his new high school has given him. Craig is too ambitious which leads him to start giving up on himself as he sees himself as a failure and a nuisance to the world around him. The second part of the novel shows Craig’s life as he is admitted into a mental hospital. It shows how Craig tries to tackle the many issues in his life and shows how Craig slowly realizes his own potential.
Let me just start out by saying that It’s Kind of a Funny Story is an amazing book! It has been very hard for me to actually pinpoint the things that made it so amazing, but I have tried and here’s what I got:
First of all, it shows great detail of how it would feel to be depressed as a teenager or young adult. This is the time in people’s lives where you suddenly have to start making a whole lot of choices for yourself which can easily end up in confusion and the feeling of being pressured. Ned Vizzini has really captured the feelings, thoughts and acts of the youth today and brought it into this great book. Vizzini has focused a lot on how the smallest of things can sometimes be a great battle for a depressed person.
The novel is extremely realistic and credible, both because of the great detail on depression and the life of a young person, but also because of the way Ned Vizzini has described every character in the book. They seem so real, so true! They might as well be walking the streets right now, because they are described so naturally and so realistic.
Mentioning the characters, I will also have to point out that I really like the main character Craig Gilner. Even though he is depressed and has so many issues, he can sometimes be very positive and often very funny. His narrative really turns a depressive book into an incredibly funny book. He is very straightforward and humorous, but at the same time he clearly struggles with this depression of his and the consequences that comes with it.
There is a quote from The New York Times on the cover of the novel which says: “Insightful and utterly authentic… This is an important book.”, and I very much agree with this statement. This is an important book. The book made me realize a lot of stuff and it made me rethink my priorities in life as I see much of myself in this book, and I believe it will have the same effect on many others who decides to read this book.
Sadly it didn’t go as well for the author himself, Ned Vizzini, as he seemingly committed suicide less than half a year ago December 2013. Rest in Peace.
I recommend this book to everyone, but mostly to people who are struggling with life at the moment. It doesn’t need to be as serious as a depression, but if you have been down for a while, I’m sure It’s Kind of a Funny Story can help you out just a bit.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (English), 444 pages, Hyperion