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It's Kind of a Funny Story Paperback – April 3, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-When Craig Gilner is accepted into New York City's elite Executive Pre-Professional High School, he believes his life is starting on the right path. After school begins, Craig finds that his life is spiraling out of control from the pressures, and he begins to contemplate suicide. Rather than actually jump off of the Brooklyn Bridge, Craig checks himself into the local hospital. In the five days he spends in psychiatric care, Craig connects with some of the other patients and learns who his true friends are, how to re-center himself, and that the only expectations he truly needs to meet are his own. With a cast of interesting characters and a very forthright teen perspective, Vizzini has penned a poignant and sometimes humorous tale (Miramax, 2006) about navigating adolescence. Narrator Robert Fass matches Craig's desolate moods and factual nature very well. Due to some upfront discussion of recreational drug use and sexual activities, this title is most suitable for more mature teens.-Jessica Miller, West Springfield Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Gr. 9-12. When Craig Gilner gets into Manhattan's exclusive Executive Pre-Professional High School, it's the culmination of a year of intense focus and grinding hard work. Now he has to actually attend the school with other equally high-performing students. Oops. And so the unraveling begins, with a depressed Craig spending more time smoking dope and throwing up than studying. Although medication helps his depression, he decides to stop taking it. Soon after, he makes another decision: to commit suicide. A call to a suicide hotline gets him into a psychiatric hospital, where he is finally able to face his demons. Readers must suspend their disbelief big time for this to work. Because the teen psych ward is undergoing renovations, Craig is put in with adults, which provides the narrative with an eccentric cast of characters rather than just similarly screwed-up teens. And in his five days in the hospital, Craig manages to cure his eating disorder, find a girlfriend, realize he wants to be an artist, and solve many of his co-residents' problems, including locating Egyptian music for his roommate, who won't get out of bed. What could he do if he wasn't depressed! But what's terrific about the book is Craig's voice--intimate, real, funny, ironic, and one kids will come closer to hear. Many readers will be familiar with the drugs, the sexual experimentation, the language, and, yes, the depression--or they'll know someone who is. This book offers hope in a package that readers will find enticing, and that's the gift it offers. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini is very well written and realistic as it is based on the author’s own stay on a psych ward. The writing does an excellent job capturing the fractured thinking that paralyzes Craig and stops him from being able to get anything done. I like how in the end Craig is still depressed since it’s not something that can be cured in just five days, but he chooses to see life differently following his stay at the hospital. I highly recommend this book!
Craig has his own language to describe his depression. He refers to the conflicting obligations that are overwhelming and depressing him as 'tentacles', while the things that help him to empty his brain (his goal) are called 'anchors'.
I would like to think that someone who may be contemplating suicide would read it, follow in Craig's footsteps, and get help for themselves. If this book even increases that chance at all, it is valuable for that alone.
Why I did not give 5 stars? I didn't really love the book the way some people did, from a pure enjoyment of the story standpoint. I had no trouble putting it down. I'm glad I read it, but don't feel like I'm likely to read it again. This is rare for me because I am always desperate for something to read.
Honestly, this is one of the books that have been sitting on my shelf for almost a year now. I picked this book as part of my new TBR jar, and I’m glad this was the first read from that. This was an eye-opener for me. I can’t recall ever reading a book before with heavy subjects such as depression or suicide. I would honestly definitely recommend this book to anyone who is comfortable enough with those subjects. If you are worrying about the sadness of this book, it’s not. Vizzini has this way of staying true to the story’s message, yet making it still readable and not heavy. I feel like Craig’s journey is very inspirational, and I found this read overall to be very enjoyable.
So far, we only have 5 girls and a female teacher that have joined our little group, but we're hoping more kids (male and female) will start to get interested and come to our next meeting. I really wish we would have had more for this book as I believe it is a book EVERY high school student should read. Unfortunately, it would be almost impossible to convince any school board to approve this book due to the subject matter. It is my belief that it could save much heartache and even save a life. The kids in the book club agreed.
I very much enjoyed the writing style of this book. And once I realized how young Ned Vizzini must have been when he wrote this book, I was blown away.
It's extremely hard to not post spoilers here, so I'm going to keep this short. I'm just going to reiterate how much the girls in our book club enjoyed this book, the writing style, and (most of) the characters.
Caution: very sensitive subject matter (suicide, depression, drug use) so, although I think it should be read by all teens, if you are a parent you may want to read it first to make sure it's something your child can handle.