It's Kind of a Funny Story - by Ned Vizzini
"everyone knows what it feels like to not quite measure up"
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is everything its title claims it to be. Ned Vizzini tells the serious yet humorous tale of life in a Brooklyn hospital’s psychiatric ward through the eyes of a depressed fifteen year old boy named Craig. Vizzini’s ability to tell the story of depression in a softened way with subtle humor is outstanding. With one-liners such as “If you can’t get out of bed for long enough, people come and take your bed away.” Vizzini keeps the book from taking on too serious of a tone.
Craig, a mellow yet peculiar teenager, is battling depression while also dealing with all the pressure that comes along with high school relationships and attending a prestigious Manhattan pre-professional high school. He ends up at the psychiatric ward after a series of events leaves him feeling like he needs to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. There he meets an assorted group of patients, reminiscent of the lovable characters of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, waiting to take him in. Some of the strange characters Craig encounters include Muqtada, his Egyptian roommate; Jennifer, a male transvestite who is quite the flirt; and Solomon, the patient ‘in charge’. When Craig picks up his old hobby of map drawing, he becomes the star of the psychiatric ward, drawing maps for all his new found friends. In realizing that his all-work pre-professional high school is not necessary to being successful in life, Craig learns to deal with the stresses that used to bog him down.
Craig is a guy anyone can relate to. He attempts unsuccessfully to succeed in every aspect of his life. This drive for perfection just leads him to depressive bouts of laziness. After he is taken out of the hectic environment that is his real life and into the slow paced psychiatric ward, we can see the true colors of Craig’s personality: easy-going, artistic, and loving towards his fellow patients. Loveable Craig will have you sympathizing with him one minute and laughing at him the next.
This refreshing story of how everyone has to learn to adjust to life in his own way is a perfect read for anyone going through similar struggles. It’s Kind of a Funny Story never comes off feeling like just another teen angst kind of book. It is a story that can span the ages because everyone knows what it feels to not measure up to the standards everyone besides you has set. Vizzini’s style is such that you will find yourself laughing and agreeing at the quirks of the depressing side of life he points out. “I think it’s a little harsh how the END button is red,” is just one example of the many ways Vizzini adds humor to this otherwise serious book.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story will become the go-to book for the perfect mix of laughs and anguish. This book is perfect for avid readers and weary readers alike. Through the story Vizzini will help you realize the need to let go and just laugh at life.