It's Kind of a Funny Story

 
3.5
 
4.0 (2)
1260 0
It's Kind of a Funny Story
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
14+
Release Date
May 01, 2007
ISBN
978-0786851973
Buy This Book
      
Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That's when things start to get crazy.

At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he's just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping-until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. For a novel about depression, it's definitely a funny story.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

A Certain Kind Of Funny
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
3.0
A mature contemporary YA, set in New York City. The story is told in first-person present-tense, exclusively from the perspective of a young teen named Craig—who is struggling with anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. After a particularly bad night, he opts to check himself into the psychiatric floor of a local hospital. The book encompasses his 5-day stay, and pondering flashbacks to the year leading up to this turn of events.

"I used to not want to call them Shrinks, but now that I've been through so many, I feel entitled to it. It's an adult term, and its disrespectful, and I'm more than two thirds adult and I'm pretty disrespectful, so what the hell."

The writing is spare, candid, and vaguely snarky; affirming of the first-person narrative. Craig is passable as an overachieving, anxiety-addled, and sexually frustrated 15-year-old boy. His world is very small and self-centric, while his actual sense of self is severely lacking. He still manages to remain a somewhat sympathetic character for much of the book. (Craig’s few shining moments come predominantly when he’s distracted from himself by the idea of helping out a few of his co-residents during his brief voluntary commitment stay.)

The first 155 pages were a quick and compelling read. I was surprised it took us that long to finally get to the hospital, where I assumed things would get even more interesting. But oddly… that’s where everything slowed down and started to feel more over-written. The air of anguished authenticity petered out—replaced by an atmosphere of patient quirkiness. Craig’s preoccupation turned largely from his reason for being committed to a peculiar combo of do-goodery, and his quest for a sexual outlet (i.e. girlfriend.)

My favorite aspect of this book is the maps. Not just the creative angle, although seeing a character find a productive and healthy coping mechanism is certainly a plus. I particularly appreciated the way it was visually worked into both the cover and the beginning of each chapter. Since the main character does so much mental cycling and wandering, it tied the work together with effective consistency.

Note: I actually saw the movie first. And I’m sorry to admit… I liked it better than the book. The pacing was much tighter, and the movie bolsters some of Craig’s issues with the external pressure of his father being myopic and educationally pushy at inappropriate times.

In the book, however, even Craig notes he doesn’t have any obvious reason for his melancholy state. His parents are “good people”—his mother being exceptionally attentive, and his little sister intuitively keyed to her big brother’s distress. He’s never been abused or molested. And while his parents were to his mind “poor” when he was very young, their financial state has since improved considerably. Craig’s problems instead seem to stem from a poor choice in friends, self-induced academic anxiety, rampant pot usage, sexual repression, aimlessness… and his more recent suicidal ideation most certainly stems from the fact that he’s decided to stop taking his Zoloft prescription cold turkey.
(Which, I will give both the book and movie credit for. They repeatedly make it clear that suddenly stopping a psyche drug is a bad idea. Though, from a medical standpoint, I wish they would have bothered to explain WHY that is.)

The most off-putting aspect of this book, at least for me, is the quasi-romance that’s struck up between Craig and a girl he meets while hospitalized. It is alluded to that Noelle is there because of self-harm, but the few scenes in which they are attempting to get to know each other never came particularly close to convincing this reader of anything but the most shallow of connections. (i.e. they happen to be the same age, and have severe issues with anxiety/depression.) Readers never find out much about either of Craig’s “love”-interests. Both Noelle and Nia come across as concerningly one-dimensional. It’s unclear whether this is because of Craig’s extremely limited perspective, or because there simply wasn’t much thought put into fleshing them out.

Content Note: While the main character is on the young end of the YA target audience, the book makes frequent casual (albeit largely non-graphic) references to drinking, drug use, and sexual acts between 14 and 15-year-olds.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0  (2)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A  (0)
Already have an account? or Create an account
Funny in a sad Way
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Amy Ward

I just finished reading the book It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. It tells the story of Craig Gilner, a fifteen-year-old contemplating suicide. Craig ends up checking himself into a psychiatric ward, where he meets people that change his life and outlook. The story deals with a sad reality about teens and depression. It shows that there is hope and recovery at the end of the tunnel.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
A Trip to the Mental Hospital
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Krista

Craig Gilner is determined to get into his dream high schoolExecutive Pre-Professional High. He studies for hours each day and carries flashcards with him. He takes the entrance exam and makes a remarkable score. 800 out of 800. This is when things go downhill.

At Executive Pre-Professional, he realizes that hes nothing compared these kids. His grades are mediocre93s, he doesnt do any extra-curricular activities, and his homework is piling up. All he does is hang out with his friend Aaron. Soon, the pressure builds up. He begins having trouble sleeping and cant keep his food down. Then, one day Craig checks himself into a psychiatric hospital for depression. Among the patients is a transsexual, a girl who scarred her face, two ex-druggies, and an Egyptian who spends his day in bed. At the hospital Craig has time to think things over and change things about his life.

Its Kind of a Funny Story is an enjoyable read. Craigs stay at the hospital is a funny one. One of my favorite scenes is when all the patients do art with Joanie. Its like a preschool class. I also liked that Craigs a very relatable character. The book would have fallen flat if he wasnt, really. I recommend you read this book. Its over 400 pages, but the print is large. It can easily be finished in several hours. I look forward to reading more by Ned Vizzini.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finding out my mother was taken by the demons was...
Sick Kids in Love
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Isabel has one rule: no dating. It’s easier―...
Pawns (The Wielders of Arantha)
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
Seven hundred years in the future, a powerful alien...
Perfectly Oblivious
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Cameron Bates (Cam) could have almost any girl at...
By Any Means Necessary
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Heart-wrenchingly honest, fans of Brandy Colbert and Nicola Yoon...
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
3.3
 
4.3 (1)
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal...
Into the Crooked Place (Into the Crooked Place, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Into the Crooked Place begins a gritty two-book YA...
The Rift
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
As corporate greed is pitted against supernatural forces, two...
The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the last days of the twenty-first century, sea creatures...
Conceal, Don't Feel (Twisted Tales, #7)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other? ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bestselling Divergent and Carve the Mark author Veronica Roth delivers...
Bernard Pepperlin
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The drowsy Dormouse from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland...
Vicarious
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Paula Stokes weaves together a series of mysteries and the...
The Bookworm Crush
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This spinoff of The Replacement Crush featuring Amy and Toff...
The Unexpected Everything
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Andie must learn to embrace the beauty in chaos in...
What I Like About You
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can a love triangle have only two people in it?...

Latest Member Reviews

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
4.3
"I’m going to start out this post by letting it be known by all and sundry that I was provided..."
Sick Kids in Love
 
5.0
"SICK KIDS IN LOVE is a beautiful story about love- as well as invisible illness/disability AND NOBODY DIES! (I do..."
The Light at the Bottom of the World (The Light at the Bottom of the World, #1)
 
5.0
"THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is a compelling and atmospheric YA fantasy/science fiction. In the future, the..."
Conceal, Don't Feel (Twisted Tales, #7)
 
5.0
"If you adored FROZEN, you need to get your hands on this Twisted Tale which reimagines the story if Anna..."
 
4.0
"THE END AND OTHER BEGINNINGS is the latest from DIVERGENT author, Veronica Roth. The novel is comprised of six YA..."
The Bookworm Crush
 
5.0
"THE BOOKWORM CRUSH is an absolutely charming romantic comedy with all sorts of booklover homages. Amy McIntyre is @redheadrecs and..."
Scared Little Rabbits
 
3.0
"SCARED LITTLE RABBITS follows Nora (aka Eleanor, Lowercase) as she sets out on a summer camp adventure that resulted in..."
A Constellation of Roses
 
5.0
"A CONSTELLATION OF ROSES is a beautiful story of familial love and healing. Trix has been trying to make her..."
Frankly in Love
 
5.0
"FRANKLY IN LOVE is a surprisingly deep and heartfelt read. Although it is described as a rom-com, this is not..."
American Royals
 
4.7
"What if at the end of America’s Revolutionary War, George Washington was offered a crown and what if he said..."
Take the Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance
 
4.0
"This is the type of book I’d like to see included in school curriculums. The stories are like wide open..."
When the Stars Lead to You
 
4.7
"WHEN THE STARS LED TO YOU is quite the emotional YA contemporary. While on the surface it seems like a..."
We Are the Perfect Girl
 
3.3
"'We Are the Perfect Girl' by Ariel Kaplan is a Cyrano De Bergerac style story. There are a host of..."
Stranger Things: Runaway Max
 
4.7
"'Stranger Things: Runaway Max' by Brenna Yovanoff provides an intriguing look into Max's life before and during her time in..."
Crown of Oblivion
 
5.0
"Engrossing and completely thrilling, CROWN OF OBLIVION is a fantastic new YA fantasy that I highly recommend. Dealing with themes..."
 
4.7
"Four very different high school girls plan to spend one month together in GIRLS OF JULY, and they each have..."
 
3.0
"BETWEEN WORLDS: FOLKTALES OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND is a collection of short stories that have been passed down over centuries..."
Forgiven Are the Starry-Eyed
 
5.0
"The story: Sheltered high school junior Andrea Cavanaugh believes she hits the jackpot when Josh McMillan, a..."
All the Things We Do in the Dark
 
4.3
"ALL THE THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK is an intensely challenging and thought-provoking read with some magical realism elements...."
Rules for Vanishing
 
5.0
"RULES FOR VANISHING is a deliciously haunting YA horror perfect for Halloween. Told through collected documents, interviews, and texts, this..."