My Kyrosmagica Review of It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

 

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Goodreads Synopsis:

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 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.

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, 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.

Author Biography:

Vizzini grew up primarily in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. He attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, graduating in 1999. While still a teenager, he began to write articles for the New York Press, an alternative newspaper.

After he wrote an essay that got published by the New York Times Magazine, several of his essays about his young adult life ended up being combined into his first book, Teen Angst? Naaah…. Vizzini attended Hunter College, also located in Manhattan. Ned Vizzini lived in New York City. Vizzini’s characters and situations are said be based upon his time spent at Stuyvesant.

Sadly Ned Vizzini Died December 19, 2013.

My review:

I wasn’t sure about beginning It’s Kind Of A Funny Story particularly in light of Ned Vizzini’s suicide aged 32. It seems to me that comics, writers, poets, and creative individuals have a dark side to them which is often masked by a humorous persona. Obviously  the unexpected suicide of Robin Williams, on 11th August, instantly comes to mind, the funny relatable guy, that had us all in stitches. In light of this I wondered how I would respond to reading Ned Vizzini’s novel about a young, teenage boy on the brink of suicide. The title suggested that it would be a light-hearted read. Well only a person who had experienced depression first hand could have written a book that tackled the subject so well, managing to make it a true reflection on the awful tragedy of depression and mental illness, and the stigma that comes hand in hand. There were times when the sheer humanity of life made me laugh, particularly when Craig makes the decision to check himself into hospital and found himself admitted to an adult mental health ward. Ned Vizzini achieves this by making his characters so believable, and engaging. To begin with Craig is freaked out but it doesn’t take long for all his “Cycling,” his relentless thoughts, and his “Tentacles,” his pressures to fall away. The hospital routine is oddly therapeutic. He begins to relax, eat, make friends, starts to understands girls, and grows up. There is hope, and hope is a powerful word.  Sadly, even though there is this  glimmer of hope there is also a sense of Craig’s vulnerability, he could slip back , the depression is and always will be a part of him. Though, if he holds on to his “Anchors,” those things that keeps him steady, he might just be ok.

I loved the idea of Craig’s “Cycling,” “Tentacles” and his “Anchor,” you will have to read the book to find out what his Anchor  is. I don’t want to spoil it for you. But his “Anchor” is just so Craig. We all need an “Anchor!”

So, a wonderful book. The characters are great. The dialogue is spot on. Can’t really find anything to say but positive, positive. Everyone should read it. Every parent, so they don’t push their child into doing something that isn’t right for them.  Help, encourage and guide them but don’t pressurise them into doing something that is alien to them. If only every person suffering from anxiety, depression, and mental illness could find their “Anchors” the things that keep them happy, and hold on to them for dear life maybe then they will never have to slip away as Ned Vizzini did. That is the sad truth. So much talent wasted. This is my tribute to Ned Vizzini, sadly,  I only discovered his writing now.

My Rating:

A Whopping, Deserved 5 Stars.
Highly Recommended to Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health, Humour, Psychology, and Coming of Age Readers.
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Have you read It’s Kind of A Funny Story? Do comment I’d love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
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About Marje @ Kyrosmagica

Hi. Welcome to my blog, Kyrosmagica. A blog about magic, books, writing, laughter, and much more! I'm a debut writer in the process of finishing my first YA fantasy novel, set in Cambridge. I write book reviews on Net Galley and Goodreads. I have a penchant for travel and have relatives in far flung places, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore, (my birthplace.) I grew up in in Bonnie Scotland, in Edinburgh, and now live in Cambridge. I love sunny, hot places, particularly Rome, Venice, Portugal, Barcelona, and I forgot to mention the sun drenched beaches of the Caribbean, how could I? I am lucky to have been blessed with two lovely daughters and a husband who I fondly refer to in this blog as my black sheep. Family joke! With my passion for travel, culture, beautiful beaches, good food, books, theatre, writing, and humour, I hope to keep you entertained. I'm loving every minute of this creative journey, please join me.
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6 Responses to My Kyrosmagica Review of It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

  1. Reblogged this on Jennifer Austin – Author and commented:
    In light of recent high profile suicides, and my own battle with depression, I’d like to share this book review. And I’ll probably be adding it to my TBR pile. As a person who knows what depression feels like, it is sometimes difficult to read about it, but I think I may have to on this one.

    Like

    • marjma2014 says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you for your candid comment. Yes, it is a very difficult subject to read about. I was worried about reviewing this but I’m glad that I did. It is a valid topic for discussion especially in light of, as you say, recent high profile suicides. Do add it to your TBR pile. Your reblog of this sensitive book is most welcome. Thank you.

      Like

  2. This was a brilliant review, I loved reading your thoughts. I would love to pick up this book because I think books about mental health are so important. It still surprises me how uninformed some people can be.

    Like

    • marjma2014 says:

      Hi Becky. Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, I totally agree. Mental health is such an important issue, so many people find themselves suffering from crippling anxiety and depression. It is much better to bring it out in the open for discussion rather than hide it away, as if it never happens.

      Like

  3. Pingback: A – Z of My Book Reviews. | kyrosmagica

  4. Pingback: My Kyrosmagica Reviews N – Z | K Y R O S M A G I C A

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