Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's Kind of a Funny Story

Despite the pile of homework that I have to do this weekend, I have neglected that to finish It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini and I think that it was a worthwhile decision. It's a wonderful story and it's wonderfully written, and it was definitely a good read. The only issue that I have now is that I have now read all the books that I brought with me to read for fun, and I won't be able to get more until next weekend. Hopefully school work will keep me busy enough that this will not be a problem...

Anyway, It's Kind of a Funny Story is about a guy named Craig who, since entering high school, has been struggling with depression. He's not able to eat, not able to sleep, and has been contemplating suicide. One night, when the depression seems unbearable, Craig calls the suicide hotline, since he was about to go through with killing himself. Because of this, Craig gets checked into the adult psychiatric section of the hospital. During his stay here, he really gets a chance to think about what has been causing his depression and how he can overcome it. 

While this novel is about overcoming depression, it is in no way depressing. Yes, there are some parts where you feel so sorry for Craig, where you wish you could just reach over and give him a hug and be his friend. He is one of those characters that you really feel could be one of your friends, and  you want to convince him that he is worth something despite all the things that are running through his mind. I give Vizzini credit for creating a character that you feel this way for, because it's his writing that makes Craig seem so real. Despite these moments where your heart breaks for Craig, there are also moments where you're hopeful for him too. You can see glimpses of what he was like before this depression claimed his life, and you see that he was a really good kid, a bit on the nerdy side, but a good kid none-the-less. And the little adventures that he has while in the hospital, with the other hospital patients, are quite comical at times. Vizzini puts a positive spin on a negative thing, and that's what I loved about this book.

The other thing that I think is great about this book is the way that Vizzini presents mentally ill people. A lot of people think of them as people that can't function well in society, people that aren't as smart as the majority of the world. But through the characters that Craig interacts with, we see that everyone has a different story that has made them the way that they are. It shows not only Craig, but the reader as well that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Before we judge that a person isn't fit to interact with "regular" society, we should learn why they are they way they are and maybe that will change our opinion of them. It is a great message.

Since I don't have any other books to read here, next I will be reading The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by Chrisopher Paul Curtis for my children's lit class. Until next time, happy reading! :)

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