Between the Lines
Everyone can read, but really understanding a book and the story it represents is entirely different. It's important to adopt different perspectives. Here, I offer you mine.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
It's Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
It’s Kind of A Funny Story
Summary: “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 college to get the right job. But once Craig aces is 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.”
Positive: 1. Humor. I think that readers would really enjoy the sense of humor Ned Vizzini presents in this book. A lot of the characters and situations are very amusing. It’s Kind of A Funny Story really lives up to its title. I remembered the last time that I burst out laughing at a solemn or inappropriate moment, and realized that the author was really targeting the fact that laughter is a common way of dealing with pressure. He made the reader feel okay about laughing, even while reading about such tragedy as people stricken with mental illness. The other characters in the book seemed at peace with their state of mind, and Ned Vizzini reminded me that maybe it’s better to laugh along with them instead of feeling sorry for them. 2. Very informative. This book explores the cause and affects of clinical depression amongst teenagers. I personally have never suffered from anything like depression, and I found it really interesting to read about what it was, what it did to people, and how it affected lives in a way that I could relate to, coming from a teen perspective. Although Craig isolated himself in a battle against his feelings, he’s only one of over thirty-two million others like him in the United States alone, a fact that really got me thinking. Ned Vizzini gives teens an example of how to help themselves and assures them that suicide isn’t the only solution. Just knowing that the author spent some time in a mental hospital himself really helped illustrate the story. 3. Emotional disconnection. Sure, this may seem like a bad thing. Craig being the narrator made it hard to get into the story because he seemed so emotionally distant from himself as well as others around him. I found it difficult to form attachments at first. However, Craig taking charge and checking into the hospital changes everything. Perhaps that was the point. As Craig started to put himself back together, he began to make connections with other characters, which allowed me (as the reader) to do the same. It was really interesting to build connections with other characters alongside Craig.
Negative: 1. Unrealistic timeline. According to the book, Craig managed to learn about his calling in life, build a relationship, and significantly help others diagnosed with illnesses similar to his own in a matter of five days. For some, it may not ring true that Craig adjusts to life so quickly. However, I liked the story enough to set aside my disbelief and just go with it.
Overall: I loved reading It’s Kind of A Funny Story. It had just the right mixture of seriousness and humor to keep the mood light and still get the point across. I found the main character easy to relate to, and enjoyed studying how he emotionally evolved throughout his story. Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of A Funny Story is a great read, and I would definitely recommend it.
Rating: Two Thumbs Up!