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on January 22, 2014
"It's Kind of a Funny Story" is a book that's been on my "To-Read" list for quite some time, however, with the recent passing of author Ned Vizzini, I thought the best way to honor a writer was to make sure the works they left behind are read. Hence, I moved it to the top of my reading list. The story follows a teen-aged protagonist who grows suicidal after his life takes a drastic turn. This results in his stay in a psychiatric ward. Here, he meets a cast of interesting characters and basically "finds himself." What this book does best is showcases what it really means to be depressed--to help shed light on what is too often thought of as a taboo subject despite that we are all bound to experience it in one way or another. While this is an inspirational and educational story presented in an entertaining way, there is also an underyling eerie feeling to it due to knowing Ned Vizzini suffered depression and recently committed suicide. While reading the story, one can't help but to wonder if some of the thoughts presented by the main character were indeed the real thoughts of Vizzini. The line between fiction and reality become blurred. If the knowledge of this makes you uncomfortable, this may not be a good choice for you to read. However, it is my hope that as tragic as Vizzini's end was, hopefully his modern-day masterpiece helps take some of the shame away from seeking mental health services and battling depression. His story and his life may be the tool to help save the life of someone else. R.I.P. Ned Vizzini.
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on January 17, 2017
This book was amazing. It started out a bit like a normal kids life. It told the story of Craig and how he coped with life dealing with his parents, school sister, and his friends. But the surprise was the journey of him silently struggling with his depression and anxiety. It also showed the darker side to someone secretly suffering from these mental illnesses. It really opens the readers eyes to what it really is like to be inside of a person eyes and life who suffers from this. It also gives the insight of how it is to go through treatement when you turn to help from a hospital when you want to kill yourself.

I enjoyed this book because I myself suffered for many years with depression. I hid it from everyone even if they knew about it I tried to hide it and how I truly hurt. Reading that an author could depict that into a book to kind of show light on how it is to deal with this. And the options that there is to get help but also know that no matter what in the end there can be help for you. This is a must read for anyone no matter who you are! Whether you are dealing with these issues or know someone who is. Or are just wanting to read a good book! This is perfect!
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on December 27, 2013
I read in the newspaper that Ned Vizzini committed suicide the other day and started to research the books he wrote. I had never heard of him, just like I had never heard of John Kennedy Toole until after he commited suicide, and then I read his book, Confederacy of Dunces, an all time favorite read that I have read twice.

After reading a number of articles about him and all the FAQ's on Vizzini's Facebook, it seems he suffered from over achievers disorder. He was very concerned about making a living, having a good job, etc. I guess there was more to his depression than that, and he often states that he wanted to leave a mark in this world, which he did, even before his death with his great writings.

I liked the book, it's well written and I think most people can relate to it. This book describes where our thoughts can become so powerful that they overwhelm us. He could not escape his thoughts, they had run amuck, so he checked himself into the psyc ward. His adventures in the hospital are described in great detail. I never found the book boring or too long as some people have suggested. I look forward to reading more of his books.

It seems a tragic loss and I am saddened to see that he was not able to carry on and lost all hope. I can only hope that he has found the peace he longed for.
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on May 12, 2016
Absolutely LOVE this book. Probably one of my all time favorites. It's honest and funny and tear-worthy all at the same time. It's absolutely perfect for adults and teens and is completely captivating I finished it in about 2 days and have read it over and over since. This book was fantastic. Anyone dealing with any kind of mental illness needs to read this. Heck, anyone who knows anyone or knew someone who had a mental illness or saw someone with one on TV or in a movie or even just walked past someone who looked glum, needs to read this.

The novel follows 15-year-old Craig: he is depressed and suicidal. He attends a prestigious school which he spent months and months studying and working towards however, since the day of his welcome letter, he's never been happy. The school is just stress and grades, he's struggling to keep his head above water and admits himself into the mental health ward. The synopsis sounds cringey, teenagery maybe even predictable but it's not. The title sums it up perfectly: 'It's Kind of a Funny Story' because it is. Never have I wanted to laugh at a character's cynical humour while wanting to cry over the bleakness of his life. I was emotionally invested and, more so, emotionally torn.

This book just did it for me and led me to read all his other books as well, they're so good. Definitely recommend reading this NOW
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on January 1, 2017
I was hesitant to read this due to the unfortunate real-life results of depression in Vizzini's life. I decided to go ahead and I enjoyed this book. Definitely took me on a weird journey but it seemed to give me some peace. I giggled at some of the moments Vizzini portrays anxiety and the "Cycling" of thoughts that Craig has because it seemed to resonate so much with my own experience of anxiety. I feel like Ned may have wanted to mildly destigmatize mental illness with this book as well through the numerous characters and for me I think it did. Multiple moments of laughter and multiple moments of "wow I know what that feels like." The only thing that irqs me in this story was Craig's tendency to distinctly emphasize certain characters as "black guy" or "black lady" while many other characters' race is not mentioned. I know that's a minute detail but it's one that rubs me the wrong way.
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on October 18, 2015
Ned Vizzini was an author from Brooklyn, NY. Unfortunately, he is no longer living. In December of 2013, Ned committed suicide at his home in New York City. Suffering from depression for many years took a toll on him and he proceeded to take his own life eventually. His fight with depression as a young adult inspired a book that captured five days he spent in a psychiatric hospital in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The book “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” (2006) follows a young teenage boy who struggles with depression as well and chronicles the days he spends in a psychiatric hospital, also in Brooklyn, after contemplating taking his own life.
New York Magazine says, “It’s terrific: funny, incisive, disarming.”
People Magazine says, “The wise, witty narrator and sensitive handling of a hot topic should win over older tees- and their parents.”
Craig is a typical teen boy who is struggling to find the balance between his friends, his schoolwork and doing what his parents want him to do. He finds that his new school is becoming much harder than he expected and begins to spiral out of control in a way normal teens might. He becomes depressed and overwhelmed. He seeks professional help only to find that his medication is not doing the trick. One night contemplates taking his own life only to be talked out of it by someone on the suicide hotline, the number for which he finds in one of his mother’s self help books. From this point on, the book documents the time Craig spends in the psychiatric hospital trying to recover from his episode and get back to normal life. He also makes some new and interesting friends along the way.
Ned does an amazing job of making Craig a very dynamic character. This may be attributed to the fact that he experienced the events himself and puts his own personality into the character. Craig could easily be someone we all went to high school with. For a while he suffers in silence and eventually breaks, as some people do at that point. While making Craig relatable to every stressed out teen, Vizzini makes the story funny. That may be the sole reason this book is so enjoyable; he takes a serious and often scary situation and turns it into something we can all laugh about. Even Craig laughs along with us at some points. An example of this is from page 4 and 5 from his book:
“Craig? You want?” It’s passed to me, wrapped up in a concise delivery system, but I pass it on. I’m doing an experiment with my brain. I’m seeing if maybe pot is the problem; maybe that’s what has come in and robbed me. I do this every so often, for a few weeks, and then I smoke a lot of pot, just to test if maybe the lack of it is what has robbed me. “You all right, man?” This should be my name. I could be like a superhero: You All Right Man.

On it’s face, this book would seem to be strictly a humorous novel about an awful situation. Ned Vizzini talks about depression and suicide in a way that makes it seem less, well, depressing. Hidden in the book are very thought provoking passages as well which make the reader think a little more deeply about the overall message he is trying to convey. He ultimately serves to shed some light on the severity of depressive thoughts and how nothing should be treated as a mistake. If someone is suffering, listen to them. It could mean life or death at some point. He highlights one of Craig’s “bad” periods on page 117:
“Then I’d get bad. Usually it happened after a chill session at Aarons house, one of those glorious times when we got high and watched a really bad movie, something with Will Smith where we could point out all the product placements and plot holes. I’d wake up one the couch in Aaron’s living room (I would sleep there while he slept with Nia in the back) and I’d want to die. I’d feel wasted and burnt, having wasted my time and my body and my energy and my words and my soul.”

Vizzini has written a few other books, Teen Angst? Naaah…(2000), Be More Chill (2004), The Other Normals (2012) and House of Secrets (2013). Unfortunately, the sequel to House of Secrets, House of Secrets: Battle of the Beasts was never completed due to his untimely death. These may very well be worth checking out if It’s Kind of a Funny Story was enjoyable or seemed interesting to you.
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on February 22, 2015
I gave this book four stars because I felt like it helped me to better understand people that I care about who have struggled with severe depression or anxiety. Craig's story of setting ambitious goals and expecting to find happiness and satisfaction when he achieves them is easily relatable. That behavior is certainly not limited to teenagers, or to those that become clinically depressed.

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.
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on August 13, 2016
For what I was looking for it was a very great book. Beautifully written Ned Vizzini captures the mind of depression so well. It should have a trigger warning though which I am not sure if it does or not but for those who are clinically depressed and not currently seeking help this is not for you. Other than that read on! For what it's worth the book was in great condition and came on time.
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on July 31, 2015
Craig is a 15 year old battling clinical depression. After going off his medication, he decides to kill himself by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. He ends up calling a suicide hotline instead and they direct him to the nearest emergency room where he checks in for a minimum five day stay in the adult psychiatric ward (adult because the teen ward is closed for renovations). While there he meets a colorful group of people and makes important decisions for his future. He figures out how to cut the Tentacles that are stressing him out and finds an Anchor that brings him happiness. In the end, he is not cured. He is still battling depression, but he makes the conscious choice to live and enjoy his life.

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!
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on June 24, 2015
full review posted on
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.
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