Author: Ned Vizzini
Release Date: May 1st, 2007
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Summary: “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 neighbors 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.” – Barnes & Noble
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a breath of fresh air. It takes on a serious topic without an overly serious tone, and portrays a serious problem (mental illness) negatively while much of the media chooses to glamorize it. Part of my enjoyment might be because this book hits close to home, as I myself have gone through many of the same things the main character Craig did. To anyone wondering whether it’s an accurate portrayal of depression, anxiety, etc., well, it’s spot on.
The writing is clean cut, getting straight to the point without being too clipped. The story is realistic to how teenagers act, not sugarcoating their behavior and yet not trying to cast them as the Troublesome and Misunderstood Miscreants. Almost everyone is likable, – at least in their own way. Even the characters who I’m pretty sure were written in just to highlight how irritating an environment like this can be have their own distinct charm.
Despite the lack of a traditional climax in the novel, I find the book to have momentum and a flowing pace. I kinda want a bit more of a tangible goal or conflict near the end, but am still pleased with how the novel handled its ending.
Overall, It’s Kind of a Funny Story is an enjoyable read filled with endearing characters, a nice flow, and wonderful insight. I’d highly recommend it, (especially if you’ve gone through similar troubles of your own.) A solid 4.5 out of 5.