Thursday, March 6, 2014

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini


It's Kind of a Funny Story.  This was not on my "to read" list, but I stumbled across it and just went for it.  The past 2 books that I've read, I knew nothing about going in (I'm such a thrill seeker).  I read it on my kindle, so I had no idea how much I would love the cover art on this book...and check out the spine!

I love the spine on this book.  It's the little things.  I have a friend who is obsessed with the inside cover art.  You know a quality book if when you open it up, you fall in love with the inside cover.  Right?  Right.  This is what you miss out on when you read on your Kindle.  Anyway... 

Written about a 15 year old boy who suffers from depression and considers suicide, much of the book is about him spending 5 days in a psychiatric hospital.  The story is set up with him hanging out with friends...getting a sense of the pressure he feels.  But it's in the hospital when his anxieties are peeled away and you find out who is really when there is no pressure and anxiety, he's kind, generous, loving, artistic, and in many ways just a regular teenage boy.  He finds new friendships, realizes the value (or lack of value) in old "friendships," and learns how to move forward.  

There were times in the book that were too sexual for me and I'd skim over or skip.  So, there's that warning about the book.  I don't like too much sexual content when I read anyway, and it bothered me to read it about a 15 year old.  That bothered me.  But, I found it was easy to skip over it.

The book was interesting, and aside from the stuff I mentioned above, I really ended up liking it a lot.  I was interested in Craig.  I wanted to know more about his fellow patients.  I wanted to know what was going to happen.  I was rooting from Craig that whole time.  Interesting, yes.  First of all, I've never read a book like this...tackling the topic of depression...without feeling depressing itself.  When I was younger, I went through a period of time reading depressing books, but no books about living with depression.  Secondly, I have a husband who, from time to time, has to decide if someone should be hospitalized because of mental illness.  And lastly, well, I like a story with good character development...change...happy endings.  And this gave me that.

Sadly, though, the author, Ned Vizzini does not have that happy ending that he created for Craig.  This book is based on his own 5 day stay in a psychiatric hospital.  So much of this is truly based on his own experiences, his own thoughts and feelings even.  And though he had his ups and downs in life, he couldn't quite manage his own depression and committed suicide on December 19, 2013 when he was 32 years old.  Only a short few months ago.  I can only imagine that his wife and son continue to mourn his absence, and always will.

It makes me so sad.  It's just another example of how mental illness is illness.  Something that someone battles with daily...and in a moment...the agony is too much.  They are too tired to do it anymore.  It's so sad to me.  And though It's Kind of a Funny Story is just a's more.  Because it represents an entire group of people who need us ~ a friend who cares, parents who listen, professionals who help...

Ned Vizzini leaves a legacy of novels and work that have touched many people's hearts...many who can intimately relate with what he has shared.  While he was living, he spent a lot of time with teenagers creating writing workshops and helping them use writing as a means of medicine for mental health.  He is an example to us all in that he was able to use his own painful experience to help others...

 1981 - 2013

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