Sunday, May 02, 2010


It's Kind of a Funny Story

by Ned Vizzini

Craig is suffering from clinical depression, and feeling the tiredness, the inability to eat, the insomnia, and the disheartened emotional state that go with it. Like being a teenager isn't sucky enough, especially when your best (and maybe only) friend is with the girl you're in love with and you have to watch them together all the time.

Then one night, it just all seems too much, and he seriously contemplates suicide. The suicide hotline tells him to go to the nearest emergency room, where he then goes to an adult psychiatric wing and stays for several days. While there he talks to other patients and to doctors, and learns some things about himself, his medications, his friends and that girl, and other people's problems. He starts to feel connected again, more like himself, and feel like here are some changes he has to make to keep the positive momentum going. By the time he gets out, he's ready to try the world again, ending on a positive, or at least cautiously optimistic, note.

At the end of the book it notes that Vizzini spent five days in a psychiatric hospital as a young man, and started writing this book one week later. That did not come as a complete surprise, as everything about life on a psych ward rang true in this book - something I know from visiting a close relative there on more than one occasion.

It all adds up to a really great teen novel - one with parts about finding yourself, about growing up, about stuff that teen boys think about, and that throws in a real experience, though hopefully one not too many teens will have to live themselves.

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