Reviewed by Kaylee Malley
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Why settle for a book that is incapable of catching your interest, when you could be reading this? A good story has a powerful meaning, and is able to keep you wondering what the next occurrence will be. The novel, It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, is definitely worth reading.The story falls under the genre of young-adult fiction. Vizzini was inspired to write this book because of his experience in being hospitalized for depression, and it became published in 2006. The story takes place in New York City, mostly around Brooklyn. The main character, Craig Gilner, ends up putting himself into a psychiatric hospital in Brooklyn, due to the emotional stress on him that lead him to suicidal thoughts. All the events within the story are guaranteed to keep your interest on lockdown.
Craig Gilner is definitely his own kind of person. He is a huge overachiever in the beginning, and works as hard as he can to achieve his goals. He spends all of his time studying for an exam to get accepted into Executive Pre-Professional High School, which is one of the most advanced schools in Manhattan. But under all the stress he has from the work he has done, plus watching his best friend date the girl he is in love with, he starts becoming depressed. Craig mentions, “I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”(13) Aside from his depression however, he does continue towards what he wants in life, and is a very artistically creative character with his own way of thinking.
Craig is facing a huge conflict, his severe depression. He makes plans to kill himself by jumping off of the Brooklyn Bridge, which he nearly follows through with until he really considered what he was about to do. He came to the realization that he wants to live, which leads him to calling the Suicide Hotline, and admitting himself into the nearest hospital. He is later put into an adult psychiatric unit, where he meets and bonds with many people. He ends up in a relationship with a girl he meets there, Noelle. While Aaron, Craig’s best friend, visits him in the facility, Craig says about Noelle, “Yeah, she’s really screwed up, as screwed up as me, but I don’t look at it as an insult. I look at is as a chance to connect.”(397) and also rediscovers how much he enjoys drawing maps. He started drawing ‘Brain Maps’ to cope with his depression, which are the outline of people filled in with maps. Everyone loved his creativity. There is where he decided he would rather attend a different school for art, and his relationship with Noelle gave him a new sense of confidence. He has improved so much, he was later released from the from the hospital with a whole new plan for his future.
The story really pushes you towards the thought of being yourself, and discovering who you are. If you do not like where you are in life, you can change it. Craig thought he knew what he wanted to do with his life, then later realized his plans really were not for him.Rather than attending the school he worked so hard to get into, he realized he would rather be in an art school. As a poster shows in large letters, Craig reads, “Dreams are only dreams until you wake up and make them real.”(286) If you want something different in life,you go for it. You don’t have to stay in one place your whole life. Craig, thinking to himself, changes his thoughts on life by thinking, “...so now live for real, Craig. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live.”(444)
I would rate this book 5 stars out of 5, because it had a great story to it, and a lot of meaning behind it. This book is recommended towards any young-adult who enjoys an interesting story, that can also be relatable in many ways to some people. If you fall under those categories, this is definitely a good book for you to read. If you liked this book, you should check out Be More Chill, and The Other Normals also written by Ned Vizzini. Thank you for taking your time to read this review, and I hope you enjoy this novel as much as I did.