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 neighbors 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.
This book ended up somewhere at the bottom of my TBR shelf over the years. I can’t remember when I got it, but I do know it’s been sitting there for quite some time. When I was looking for a book that would scratch one of the prompts off my Popsugar reading challenge, I finally picked It’s Kind of a Funny Story up, barely remembering what it was about.
The book starts with a foreword which I was planning to skip. Seriously, a foreword in a recent fiction book, that’s just weird. Somehow the first couple of sentences grasp my attention and the foreword already hooked me to the story without actually having read one letter.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is written by Vizzini after he stayed in a psychiatric hospital with suicidal thoughts and depression himself. He wrote this book to encourage teens everywhere to get help and had visited schools to further convey that message. Unfortunately, he committed suicide at the age of 32. There was no doubt in my mind that this book was going to be truthful about depression.
And oh boy it was. I thought this was going to be a story about “traditional” depression, but I was surprised and completely over the moon to see that It’s Kind of a Funny story talks about depression through burn-out. A kind of expectation-based burn-out that teens and twenty-somethings are facing every day (including me tbh). And I think that it is so great that a story like this is out there.
I should be a success and I’m not and other people- younger people- are. Younger people than me are on TV and getting their lives in order. I’m still a nobody. When am I going to not be a nobody?
But the absolute best part was how honest the book was. It didn’t sugar-coat anything, it was a little difficult to read at times, yet at the same time it wasn’t triggering at all. Something I was a bit afraid of with the whole “suicidal episode” thing in the short description. It even went so far that it was somehow therapeutic for me too to read how the main character was going through therapy in the mental hospital. That can only be proof of what a master story-teller Vizzini was.
So yes, I loved this book and I can’t recommend it enough. If you’re also on the fence about reading it as I was for so long, go ahead and finally pick it up. I promise you that you won’t be disappointed at all!
Have you read this book? If not, does it sound interesting to you? If yes, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!