Book Review: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Hello! Today I’m back with a new review of a book I’ve read recently! Reading for pleasure has been hard at the moment with my numerous University Assignments and Reading but I’ve finally had chance to read my own books!! This is a book I’ve had on my shelf for quite a while with all intentions of reading but never really getting round to it… until now.

From now, my review style is going to be changing slightly so my reviews will be becoming a little longer and more detailed! Hopefully you will all still enjoy and read what I have to say!

And now, on with the book….


About the Author 

Ned Vizzini was an American Writer. He published his first book at age 15 and was the author of four books for young adults. Vizzini suffered from depression, spending time in a psychiatric ward in his early 20s, and authoring several works about the illness. His works include: Teen Angst? Naaah… (2000), Be More Chill (2004), It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2006) and House of Secrets (2013) which he co-authored with Chris Columbus.

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Blurb

Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life – which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He 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 neighbours include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, 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.


My Review

It’s Kind of a Funny Story was originally published in 2006 and is inspired by Vizzini’s own brief hospitalisation for depression. The book was his third and final solo novel before his suicide in 2013. Since its publication the novel has been adapted into a movie by Focus Features and was released in 2010. The book was also named one of the 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels by National Public Radio.

The novel is split into 10 parts and each part is given a title which is placed alone on a page with a small shape taken from the map on the cover. The shape is pointed to by an arrow with a heading.

For example,

Part 1: Where I’m at

Part 2: How I got there

Part 3: Badoom

Part 4: Hospital

Part 5: Six North, Saturday

Part 6: Six North, Sunday

Part 7: Six North, Monday

Part 8: Six North Tuesday

Part 9: Six North, Wednesday

Part 10: Six North, Thursday.

I found the reading experience of this book to be a pleasurable one due to this breakdown of the novel in addition to the chapters aids in keeping the quick pace of the novel as well as showing the passage of time when Craig is in hospital. The writing style of the book is also quite colloquial as is to be expected of a book written from the perspective of a fifteen-year-old boy. Still, this style does aid in the immersive experience you get when reading the book and I to found myself unable to put the book down.

The book is primarily based around its protagonist, Craig Gilner, a teenager from New York City who is determined to push himself to succeed at life. Craig wants security in his future- a good job, a nice house and a family. But the immense pressure he puts on himself to achieve these goals leads to a decline in his Mental Health. Craig begins to stop eating, sleeping and one night he almost kills himself. This suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital where Craig spends 5 days in Adult psychiatric and is forced to confront the reasons for his anxiety and depression. Whilst in hospital Craig rediscovers a passion for creating his own maps that he had as a young child which then becomes a new passion in creating ‘brain maps’. These maps become the focal point of the storyline and aid in Craig’s recovery.

The characterisation of Craig is a successful one as when writing about depression and suicidal thoughts it is important to remain true to what it is like to experience it in order for an accurate representation. Vizzini does this extremely well as the novel is inspired by his own experience with Mental Health. Throughout the novel Craig struggles to deal with depression which is the main reason for his hospitalisation. Mental Health is a topic that is recently becoming quite widely discussed through literature and this is important in helping to end the stigma that surrounds it. However, it is important to note that anyone currently experiencing suicidal thoughts may not benefit from reading this book. I personally feel that the way suicide is discussed in this novel is not in any way wrong but could be potentially triggering for anyone having suicidal thoughts. This is due to the way in which the protagonist, Craig, talks about his plans and intent for suicide. The novel is nevertheless helpful in portraying how important it is to take care of your own Mental Health and help is available if you need it.

When placing this book on the market I think it is clear that it would fit alongside other novels that explore Mental Health such as Turtles All the Way Down by John Green, Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaria. The book’s target audience is Adult / Young Adult rather than Teen due to its inclusion of ‘taboo’ areas such as drugs, alcohol and sex and I feel the book’s main selling points are that its readership can relate to the struggles that Craig is going through as over 300 million people suffer with depression. As well as this 1 in 6 people experience a common Mental Health problem therefore it is something that is still relevant to an audience today despite being originally published almost 12 years ago.

Years later, even after Vizzini’s death the novel is still being reprinted, stocked on shelves and is still being picked up by young readers which proves that the impact it leaves on a reader is a significant one making it overall a successful novel.


My Rating

On review despite how much I love the book I would have to give it 4/5 Stars ⭐️


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It's Kind of a Funny Story is available at bookstores and online. RRP: £8.99

Please, do not suffer with Mental Health.  Help is Available…

If you are in a crisis you can walk into any A&E Department and receive treatment.

The links below are also different forms of help that is available.

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