“It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini follows the story of 15-year-old Craig and his struggle with depression. After dealing with the daily pressures of an overachieving high school life, Craig makes a split decision one night commit suicide. Yet before going through with it, Craig calls a sucked hotline and takes the given advice to go to the hospital. From there, he is admitted into an adult mental hospital where he meets some unique characters and is forced to deal with the sources of his anxiety.
This book is rather quick read as Vizzini has constructed a fast paced plot that keeps the reader interested. Right away, the reader is introduced to the problems that Craig faces on a daily basis which include difficulty eating and sleeping. Although it may not sound intriguing, the author uses an interesting character such as Craig to keep the reader’s attention. Since the book is written from a first-person point of view, the reader is given a chance to understand exactly where Craig is coming from. These issues didn’t just appear one day but rather stem from his childhood, his self-induced pressure to get into a challenging school, and his average social high school issues. One thing I personally enjoy about the structure of this book is that it is split into parts, some written in the present in which Craig experiences these problems, and others written to explain the past in which the issues begin to develop.
Although this book deals with heavy topics such as depression, self harm, drug use, and suicide, Vizzini is able to lighten the mood throughout the piece in order to brighten the tone of the novel. For example, at one point Craig’s parents come to visit him at the mental hospital and his mom goes to grab her phone when his dad stops her. He then says, “this isn’t the kind of place you want to be getting sent to a time-out.” This scene, along with countless others, shows the jokes that the author decided to sprinkle throughout the book. By including this humor, Vizzini is able to present a serious topic in a light that is enjoyable to read. It keeps the reader in an upbeat mood while introducing them to a pressing issue in today’s world. If you’re looking for a novel that deals with a deeper topic in a more relaxed way, you should consider giving “It’s Kind of a Story” a quick read-through.