It’s Kind of a Funny Story

May 14, 2013

Realistic Fiction/Drama
Ned Vizzini
Reviewed by Sullivan Harris
3.5 out of 5 Stars


It’s Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini brings the reader into the life of Craig Gilner, age 15, as he is accepted into the prestigious New York City high school, Executive Pre Professional. Tormented by the stress brought on to him by the extreme amount of work required to achieve what he believes is a good life, his love Nia who is dating his best friend, Aaron, and everyday tasks, Craig decides to attempt to take his own life by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. Deciding there was probably a better thing to do; he calls the suicide hotline and is directed to go to the nearest hospital. Upon arrival he is ushered into a small room where he is diagnosed with depression and asked if he would liked to be checked in. Thinking it was just another meeting with a shrink, Craig agrees only to find out that he was to be staying on the adult floor of the psych ward for at least a week. At first he protests his new accommodations until he is introduced to Bobby who becomes a wing man to Craig. In the ward, he meets his roommate Muqtada, his Egyptian roommate who doesn’t come out of his room, Jimmy a very scattered man with a very small artillery of words, Humble, a heavily medicated friend to Craig, Armelio, a card obsessed patient, and a whole cast of out-of-their-mind patients. During his stay, he becomes better and better, eventually drawing Mind Maps, made up city maps to show what goes on in a persons mind, at the suggestion of Noelle, a patient his age who cut her cheeks open before being admitted. Craig forms a bond with Noelle, having regular meetings with her. Will Craig discover that there is more to life then school, and will he be able to form a relationship with the mysterious and beautiful Noelle? That I can not say, or I will get a 0, so read it yourself!

The events in It’s Kind of a Funny Story are based off of Vizzini’s real life experience in a psych ward. I think that this greatly improves the quality of the book, if it was written by someone with no experience, the book would have been a terrible. Vizzini is not only able to capture what goes on in the mind of a truly depressed teenager, but also touches on smaller scale mood swings, leaving no one out. The characters in the book are believable and enjoyable. At some points in the story it feels like each character is meant to represent a different aspect of Craig’s life. Jimmy being his scattered side, Humble representing the pills he has to take, Armelio represents the fun in his life and so on. Over all this book was amazing well written, the romance, scholastic, and mental elements blend perfectly to create a book that may well be almost impossible to not read twice. Some people with a strict taste of action or adventure would, though, find this book boring and it can even drag on at some points for any reader. I would recommend this book to any person who feels like they need someone to connect to because there’s something for everyone in this book. If you have nothing else to read, this is definitely a good option.

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