What it is: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini follows the story of Craig Gilner, a 15-year-old boy with depression. He goes to a highly competitive high school and finds himself struggling with schoolwork, friend conflicts, and an inability to sleep and eat. Suicidal, he checks himself into the psychiatric ward of the hospital, where he isolates himself from the outside world and rediscovers what’s important to him–including his life.
What I liked about it: Vizzini’s writing style is excellent. It’s colloquial enough to feel like a real teenager’s voice while also formal enough to show Craig’s intelligence and worldview. The relationships and characters in the story are three-dimensional, even minor characters that Craig interacts with in the hospital. The novel includes deep musings while remaining light-hearted.
What I didn’t like about it: Nothing. This book was fantastic and I didn’t want to put it down, resulting in a few late nights and procrastination of obligations.
Memorable quote: “Take these verbs and enjoy them. They’re yours, Craig. You deserve them because you chose them. You could have left them all behind but you chose to stay here. So now live for real, Craig. Live.”
Overall rating: 5/5 stars.
Challenge satisfied: #1, read a book written by someone when they were under the age of 25.
Additional notes: I couldn’t stop thinking about Ned Vizzini while I was reading. He started writing this book a week after being released from a psychiatric ward, and committed suicide nine years later. Given how optimistic Craig was at the end of the novel, it’s sad to me that Vizzini couldn’t find that same will to live.
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