Author: Ned Vizzini
Genre: Teen, Contemporary, YA, Realistic
Publication Date: April 2006
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
How did I get this book: Bought
Let’s start with a brief synopsis:
Craig Gilner is an ambitious New York City teenager who seeks entry into the Manhattan Executive Pre-Professional High School because he believes getting into the right high school will start him on the path to a successful life. However, once Craig aces his way into the school, the pressure builds up, so much so that he stops eating, sleeping, and doing his school work. One night it all gets to be too much and he nearly kills himself.
Craig’s experience gets him checked into a local mental hospital, where he meets an array of fellow patients from many different backgrounds, including “a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio” (book jacket). At Six North, Craig is finally able to find the sources of his anxiety and confront them.
What I thought:
I’d already seen the movie adaptation of this book, though it had been several years. I had a feeling I was going to really enjoy this book. And I did.
When I sat down to start writing this review, I couldn’t. It was difficult for me because of how well I related to this book. The beginning of the book, before Craig goes to Six North, was almost too relatable for me. I won’t go into too much detail, because I don’t think that this is the right place for it, but I’m going through a very rough time in my life right now, and I cried more than once while reading about how Craig was feeling, what he was thinking, and what he calls “The Cycling” (when your thoughts continue to circle around and around on all the things you haven’t done, won’t do, can’t do; in essence, why your life isn’t that great).
Because this review is so hard for me, I don’t think I can do my typical “several paragraphs on why I loved/didn’t love this book” review for this one, so I’m just going to bullet point the things I liked and try to explain them. I hope that’s okay.
- It’s authentic. Oh my goodness, is it authentic. It’s real, and each of the characters and what they are going through feels genuine, real, true. The emotions in this book are raw and sincere.
- “My depression is acting up today” (Page 121). I wish I could say this whenever I’m asked, “What’s wrong?”
- “Sometimes I just think depression’s one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed. Because there’s so much stuff out there that you have to do something to deal with it.” – Page 240
- It’s a story that needed to be told. Ned Vizzini, the author of this book, spent several days in adult psychiatric in 2004. He wrote It’s Kind of a Funny Story right after he got out. Ned needed to tell this story, for himself and for us. It’s important for teens, and adults, to be able to have a book like this that they can relate to, to show them that they are not alone. It’s so powerful.
- Several laugh out loud moments: though this book deals with very serious content and themes, it comes across as a rather light read. Craig is witty and clever, and the people with him in Six North are funny, vibrant, and animated.
- This book makes me want to live.
So now live for real, Craig. Live. Live. Live. Live.
Live. (Page 444)
- I felt uplifted at the end of this book.
- One of the ways that Craig deals with his anxiety and depression is through art: he creates maps of imaginary cities. I totally understood this; I paint, draw, create little sewn monster dolls…make art. It is a perfect way to focus on something completely different but pour out all of your emotions at the same time.
What I didn’t like:
The bottom line: I never wanted to relate to this book as well as I did, but honestly, I’m glad that I did. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It is a story that needed to be told, and I’m glad that Ned Vizzini wrote it and I was able to read it.
I’d just like to say that I hope wherever Ned is now, he is finally happy.
Rating: 10 – Perfection. One of the best books I’ve ever read
Reading Next: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead