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It's Kind of a Funny Story

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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.

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.

444 pages, Paperback

First published March 21, 2006

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About the author

Ned Vizzini

24 books2,923 followers
Vizzini grew up primarily in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. He attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, graduating in 1999. While still a teenager, he began to write articles for the New York Press, an alternative newspaper.

After he wrote an essay that got published by the New York Times Magazine, several of his essays about his young adult life ended up being combined into his first book, Teen Angst? Naaah.... Vizzini attended Hunter College, also located in Manhattan. Ned Vizzini lived in New York City. Vizzini's characters and situations are said be based upon his time spent at Stuyvesant.

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5 stars
98,922 (40%)
4 stars
88,394 (35%)
3 stars
44,747 (18%)
2 stars
10,651 (4%)
1 star
3,746 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 13,091 reviews
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,970 reviews1,982 followers
December 20, 2013
In respectful acknowledgment of Vizzini's suicide on 19 December 2013, I have cleared my rating of his book and removed my review.

There is no more tragic occurrence in a family's life than the suicide of one of its members. My most heartfelt sympathy to Vizzini's wife and young son.
Profile Image for Kaitlyn.
66 reviews11 followers
July 31, 2012
I refuse to believe that writing a book from the perspective of a fifteen year old boy is any excuse for the level of transphobia, sexism, homophobia, and classism that defines this book. I kept trying to excuse the narrator--he's fifteen, he's sheltered, he's a stupid kid who wants to have sex with every female-bodied person he encounters (minus the poor ones, duh)--but that's not fair to fifteen year old boys. I was tolerating the book until Craig, our hero, refers to a human being as "he/she/it" and that was probably the high point of his encounter with a trans-woman. (When she got human pronouns at all, it was always, always "he.") She was hypersexualized, devious, lying, manipulative, and disconcertingly hot.

But it's OK because Craig is our HERO. He knows he's flawed (as he continuously reminds the reader, he has to be to end up in a psychiatric treatment facility--but, of course, his depression is his only real flaw and the cause of all of the ways in which he treats other people terribly) but he becomes the Savior of Six North, helping the other patients with his penis and his privilege. (I say this at the risk of sounding like an angry feminist. But, well, I'm a feminist and this book made me angry.)

From the sexual assault survivor he teaches to love again (though his continued advances are clearly unwanted and unneeded), to the poor man he saves with the shirt off his own back, all of the other patients in Six North LOVE Craig and are sure to tell his parents what a great kid he is. The ones that don't love him are just too messed up to see what a great guy he is. Somehow, amid all the Craig-worship, we get a few moments to laugh at the silly conflict in the middle east and their silly religions. That's fun!

Vizzini manages to pack in everything that could possibly mortify and still save room for tedious writing and contrived plot devices. I would say it was a waste of time, but a little bit of self-righteous indignation can be nice from time to time. Unfortunately, this was more than a little bit of self-righteous indignation.
Profile Image for Megs ♥.
160 reviews1,283 followers
February 28, 2012

I came across this movie the other day on TV and watched it. I didn't think the movie was great or anything, but I thought the idea of the story was interesting. So I decided to give the book a try. I loved this book. It is about teens and it discusses suicide, sex, drugs and more, but it is a great book with an important message. Sometimes you have to get all the way to the bottom of the barrel before you can get back to the top.

Craig is like a lot of teens nowadays. Overly stressed out. He is very smart and has a seemingly bright future ahead of him until he decides that being a teenager is simply too much to handle and he contemplated just how easy it would be to commit suicide. Luckily, instead, he calls a suicide hotline, but then he shocks his family when he checks himself into a mental hospital. Only problem is that the teen ward is closed down so he is forced to live with the adult patients and meets an interesting group of people.

This was a very touching story and one that everyone who has ever had depression can probably relate to even if just a small amount. It's an inspiring story, because it shows that there are ways to get help. The self discovery that Craig goes through is amazing. He learns that no matter how bad you think your life is, there is always someone worse off. Of course we all know that, but we may forget it sometimes, especially when we are at our low points and throwing ourselves pity parties thinking things couldn't be worse.

The characters were all well written, and I really feel the fact that the author had been in a mental hospital before showed through the vivid descriptions of the place and types of people you may see there. I'm not sure why, but I feel like the fact that he is a now successful person and openly admits that he had a stay in a mental hospital makes this book stand out to me in comparison to most other YA books that deal with mental illness. It's one thing to write about these things even having well researched the subject, but it's entirely different writing about them after experiencing them firsthand.

Also, I thought the writing in general was good. I love when an author can write about such a sad subject, but make humor shine throughout. This book is about suicide, but it's not depressing. I laughed a few times as well. The only parts I didn't enjoy were the romantic ones. It seemed totally contrived. The chances of two teens put into an adult ward and falling in love are just so bad.

The best part about this story was Craig's upbringing. This wasn't the typical suicide story where they kid had it rough, and in the end couldn't take it. He had a great family with supportive parents and a beautiful little sister. He was quite privileged, and I'm glad that author was able to show that mental illness does not discriminate. Even the most together person in the world can suddenly become depressed and the stigma attached to mental illness is something that infuriates me.

Even though this book was made into a movie it doesn't seem too popular so maybe I'm in the minority. Maybe it just isn't well marketed. I have no idea, but I would recommend this book for sure.
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
316 reviews115k followers
March 28, 2017
I'm so happy I finally read this book! It's been recommend to me for YEARS and I have no idea why I've been putting it off for so long.

I loved the way this book captured depression and suicidal idealization. I really resonated with Craig's story. He really spoke to me and his journey of growth was very inspirational in my opinion. I also feel it had a more positive view of inpatient treatment/crisis intervention. A lot of YA books that approach this topic go the route of showing it as an unpleasant, unhelpful, "get-me-out-of-here-as-soon-as-possible" place. (And while that is true for my personal experiences), I think it is extremely important we have a positive view of these situations as well so not to discourage individuals from entering a hospital that may very well save their life.

Overall, I truly loved this book. Definitely one of my new favorite mental illness novels! (Let's be real, I say that every time I read a new mental illness novel bUT I MEAN IT THIS TIME.) It's Kind of a Funny Story really stands out to me as a well-developed, beautifully constructed novel with an immense amount of depth and growth within it's pages. I would highly highly recommend!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
November 21, 2018
my immediate reaction after reading this: its kind of a funny boring story.

oh boy. i cant help but feel a bit let down by this. throw in some guilt to the emotional mix and you have me not wanting to write this review.

first things first - i understand that this book was written the month after vizzini spent some time in a psychiatric hospital and was based on his own experiences there (hence my guilt for rating this so poorly). i do think that was an asset to the story, as it really portrayed depression and anxiety authentically. however, as much as i hate criticising personal experiences, that was probably the only good thing about this book.

everything else was just kind of meh. the main character is often described as having a ‘flat affect’, and thats exactly how i would describe this story - its just completely devoid of any sort of emotion. a boy admits himself into a facility, he meets some (heavily exaggerated) people, he gets released five days later. thats really all that happens. the writing and emotive qualities are just so simplistic and flat that it renders any sort of insightful moments ineffective.

so whilst i thought some aspects of this book were decent, im not sure i would recommend it to anyone. i feel like there are many more impactful and effective stories about mental illness/health out there that would be better.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
551 reviews60.4k followers
March 3, 2021
I don't like to spend money. Every time I spend it, I feel as if I'm being raped.

Wow, talk about aging badly. Not that it was better 15 years ago but I'm sure this quote wouldn't be published today.

Also: Win. Smile. Laugh. Hold. Walk. Skip. Okay, it's gay, whatever, skip.


I can see why this book is popular for the YA crowd. I do think it handles depression and suicide well but I had a few issues with it. Mainly these two quotes and....

Profile Image for emma.
1,865 reviews54.3k followers
December 10, 2021
if you were a mentally ill middle schooler, you were either a perks of being a wallflower girlie or an it's kind of a funny story stan.

two guesses based on ratings which i am.

where most Teens With Mental Disorders contemporaries veer in the direction of quirky we're-not-like-everybody-else friendships in a romanticized way that leads people to either prefer friendlessness in general or choose loneliness while they wait for their perfect logan lerman / emma watson / that person who plays the intern amy schumer hooks up with in trainwreck friend group to appear, this book is Different.

it's a way quirkier friend group for starters. befriending an adult man while in a psych ward who would later be played by zach galifianakis? john green could never.

but also, there is humor and hope to this, even as it is so devastating and overwhelming. which is kind of how those feelings feel, a lot of the time. any time i've had a deeply bad mental health spell, i haven't felt glamorous. my feelings haven't been glossy. i've never been capable of romanticizing them.

this book isn't romanticized. it's just life.

RIP ned vizzini.

part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read a long time ago and always either get nostalgic or get angry. sometimes both
Profile Image for Kim.
286 reviews791 followers
June 15, 2009
Young Adult books seem to have a few formulas: divorce, unrequited love, death of a parent, self-transformation, and as of late... vampires. Oh... and angst. Usually always angst. Sometimes these can be written quite loverly. As with the few that have been jostled around GR lately,Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Book Thief ,I Am the Messenger ... These authors will come along and break, twist, switch it up...make.you.think. And manage to rise above the whole stigma of what it means to be reading YA.

I think I found another one. Ned Vizzini.... I knew nothing of you prior to finding you on the GMBA (Green Mountain Book Award) list. And, well... that introduced me to Zusak, Foer, Vowell... So, I jumped in all willy nilly.

You didn't disappoint. In fact, you're one of those child prodigies---publishing your first book at 19. He began writing articles for The New York Times Press while still in school and continues to do so, getting an essay published in The New York Times Magazine….yeah, I hate you.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story centers on Craig Gilner, 15. Basic overachiever, two parent household, precocious little sister, privileged. Not someone that I usually bond with. But, the writing is so dead on… so unpretentious and raw. I loved it. Usually I’d be all ‘cry me a river, buddy’ but to watch this 15 yr old lose it. (Yes, I don’t put it quite so eloquently…deal)—You really get sucked in.

You get to think. How much pressure is there on kids to succeed? Did it start with my generation? I don’t remember the be all end all of my parents having to complete college. I come from a very blue collar situation, my father didn’t even finish junior high… Yet, it was ingrained in me to get into college and that if I didn’t, I’d be a nobody. A loser. Forget about making anything of yourself. Now it seems that even THAT is not enough. It has to be the right college, with the right grades (93s are average, my friend), you have to have the RIGHT extracurriculars… etc, etc.

Who wouldn’t break down? Craig’s disconnect reminds me of Oskar in Extremely Loud…he has his own terms… his own language. ‘Tentacles��� are the ‘evil tasks that invade life and then jut out into new tasks that lead to new ones that take him away from his original goal -‘Cycling’ is when his brain won’t shut down, it repeats each tentacle… which leads to the ultimate failure. A ‘fake shift’ is when you think that these issues are being resolved, but it’s only a front… a temporary reprieve. ‘Anchors’ are the items that hold him down… keep him safe.
He finally decides that he’s going to take the big leap off the Brooklyn Bridge…that this is the ultimate anchor, but instead finds himself self admitting into a psychiatric ward in a local hospital.

Here is where Craig shines, finds his voice. And it’s not overtly formulaic. You see yourself in this fucked up kid…you see how he can relate to amphetamine heads and transvestites and how he can reach back and truly find his anchor…which happens to be making ‘brain maps’--- drawing the streets, highways, bridges, traffic circles, chaos, order, symmetry, beauty that’s in all of us, wrapped around firing neurons and SSRIs and warped brain cells.

It’s truly beautiful. It’s funny, typical teenage boy shit and a joy to read. Sounds strange, but---not. Because this is life and it can suck and it can hurt and it can overwhelm and make you feel minuscule and that’s okay. Because every now and then ‘okay’ can be your anchor and maybe there will be less days when it will suck. When we realize, like said in this book ‘life can’t be cured, but it can be managed.’ We hope.

Profile Image for NickReads.
461 reviews1,196 followers
March 14, 2019
It took me a while to finish, but I liked it.

Full review to come!
Profile Image for Lain.
Author 13 books123 followers
December 1, 2007
Take a good helping of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," add a heaping spoonful of "Girl, Interrupted," and stir in a dollop or two of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," and you'll have a good idea what you're going to get with "Funny Story."

A week after the author, Ned Vizzini, was discharged from his own stay in the psychiatric ward of a New York hospital, he began the tale of depressed teen Craig Gilner. On the point of suicide, Craig checks himself into the hospital, hoping to come to find hope beyond his depression. Inside he gains perspective on his illness, his current lifestyle, and his own talents and strengths.

Smoothly written with a strong voice, "Funny Story" is full of vivid, real characters. What rings less true is Craig's almost-miraculous recovery and ability to gain a new lease on life after only five days. However, the fairly unbelievably happy ending was welcome after the flood of depressing books that seem to be hitting the charts.
Profile Image for Candace.
895 reviews
December 6, 2022
Craig Gilner is an ambitious teen wanting to get into the best school, go to the best college, and get the best job. When he gets accepted into the Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, Craig believes he is headed on the right track. Soon, however, the pressure becomes too much. The class work, extracurricular activities, friends, girls, email, and pot smoking become more than he can bear.

One night Craig decides to take his own life. Before he does he reach out to the Suicide Hotline. Craig goes to the hospital and admits himself into a mental hospital. From there he meets the residents and gets on the road to better understanding his illness.

I found this novel to be right on the mark. I too have spent time in a mental hospital on suicide watch. I felt Ned Vizzini handled the issues of anxiety, depression and suicide with humor (You'll understand the humor when you read the novel.) and tacked, even the cycling of thoughts is handled well. It helps us to appreciate the story more knowing that the author spent time in a mental hospital. Unfortunately, Ned Vizzini committed suicide in December 2013. I recommend this book to better understand the issues of anxiety, depression and suicide.
Profile Image for rachel.
771 reviews150 followers
December 28, 2013
ETA: Ned Vizzini's death makes me feel sick to my stomach with sadness. Rest in peace, so sorry he lost his fight.

The plot of this book -- teenage boy admitted to mental hospital for five days to treat anxiety/depression -- is super close to my heart and I wanted to love it, but the execution reminds me way too much of John Green. Those of you who love John Green: this is a recommendation! But personally, there are few types of characters that annoy me more than the dorky boy whose main ambition* is to touch the inside of a girl's vagina (and who eventually does, because he's a dork but not SUCH a dork that the hot girl won't let him fool around with her anyway). There are other things in life, boys!

*: OK, Craig has other ambitions. This may be a bit of an exaggeration. Still. Vagina touching gets a lot of mention.

Actually, it's not the teenage quest for sex that bugs me so much as the fact that in this book, like in Looking for Alaska, the first person boy protag is lusting after and objectifying a girl that specifically does not want to be objectified and is, in fact, made miserable when she is. Gross. At least (and I never thought I'd say this) in John Green's version, there's some acknowledgment and shame felt about this.

It's unfortunate that that aspect of the book sucks, because it all comes to a very good ending. Vizzini's been in a psych ward, so he knows what the Shift from unwellness to wellness feels like upon becoming stabilized enough to leave -- it's wanting to [verbs! wherein any verb = a metaphor for "live"] rather than wanting to nothing. Yes. This is exactly the difference between depression/anxiety and NOT depression/anxiety. I don't know if that's a difference you can understand so acutely if you haven't experienced it, to be happy even to want to pee or to go grocery shopping or to commute to work or whatever.

Also: I love Jimmy the schizophrenic. He is the best. Even though two stars is a little stingy for this one, one of those full stars is for him. He deserves it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Read with Sandee ・❥・.
654 reviews1,293 followers
August 5, 2015
While I could relate to this book on some levels... there was something about it that didn't quite gel with me.

Was it the character? Not at all. I actually kind of like Craig.
Was it the plot? Nope. I actually books that deal with psychological issues.
Was it relatable? It was. It dealt with depression quite a bit. Even had suicidal thoughts at some point. So this was not it either.

But I had a big problem with how the story was told. It dragged out on a lot on the first part of the book. It was only at about 45% when something really started happening. In short it was a bit boring. I'd have to say the movie was better paced than this.
Profile Image for Shaya.
250 reviews324 followers
April 3, 2019
يه كتاب فوق العاده،راجب يه پسري به اسم گريگ هستش كه به افسردگي مبتلا ميشه و اينكه چطوري با بيماريش مقابله ميكنه.چقد حمايت خونواده گريگ رو دوست داشتم،مثلا وقتي بهشون گفت افسردگي دارم خونوادش زود بردنش پيش تراپيست و روند درمانشو پيگيري كردن.حالا فك كن به خونواده ايراني بگي افسردگي دارم ميشينن بهت ميخندن و اهميتي نميدن،اينجاست كه تفاوتها معلوم ميشه.قسمت تلخ ماجرا اينجا بود نويسنده هم افسردگي داشت ولي متاسفانه مثه شخصيت كتابش نجات پيدا نميكنه و خودشو ميكشه.بازم معلوم ميشه كه افسردگي چقد بيماري خطرناكيه و بايد جدي گرفتش
Profile Image for Alexa.
6 reviews11 followers
September 30, 2013
Despite its overly confident title, I failed to find the humor in It's Kind of a Funny Story. However, there were many things about this book that were, in fact, an absolute joke.

I tend to be overly generous with regards to book reviews, so I let Funny Story take three stars. If I could, I would grant it two and a half stars, but that's not an option on Goodreads. And I will admit, there were a few things about the novel that I liked.

I suppose I'll start with the good things, else I'll be too worked-up and frothingly-mad by the end of the criticism to actually say anything positive. The first half of the book was earnest, genuine, and not exactly powerful but definitely memorable--Craig is basically a good guy, and the reader can sympathize (or empathize, depending) with the kid. His friends seem like cardboard cutouts of teenagers (oh, wait, it's not time for negative criticism yet, is it?), but Craig remains fresh and realistic. Craig's descriptions and experiences of chronic depression are pretty accurate, initially.

Those good things are heavy outweighed by the bad, however. Firstly, what makes me so mad about the book is its resolution. Craig hooks up with not one but TWO girls during his stay in psychiatric care. That seems a little ridiculous--the hospital sounded more like a four-star hotel than a center of mental health: I mean, a smoking lounge, poker games every other night? Just saying. I expected more formalities, structure, and healing--and became a sort of deus ex machina. Ohoho, teenage boy gets some action, he can't even remember> what it was like to suffer from anxiety! Craig just "gets better" almost overnight, which comes as a slap in the face to me. Let me tell you, it really does not happen like that. It also bothered me that Craig's problems seemed to obviously stem from school-related stress, yet this was almost ignored in his treatment. Not that that wasn't a valid cause for his distress; it was just misleading, if the reader did not know any better. Regardless of whether the cause was external or internal, though, I doubt that a teenage fling or two would have "fixed" everything.

Overall, I was disappointed. There was so much potential--here was a tale of genuine teenage problems that didn't turn the victim into a punch line. Vizzini just had to ruin it by leaving readers with the moral that "true luv" and a positive attitude can nullify genuine illness. And to that I say, Vizzini, go perform a physical impossibility.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
152 reviews10 followers
March 19, 2017
I really wanted to like this book. I truly, really wanted to. An ownvoices book about a depressed teenager which I heard had a happy ending? Hell yeah!

However, this book is very Hell No and here's why:

- so much transphobia: there's a trans woman in the book. Why? We don't know. She's a sex addict, really creepy and loves to hit on straight guys. She plays no role in the bigger storyline and she's really only there to be insulted and then quickly removed from the psychiatric ward. Oh, and every single character in the book misgenders her. They say he/she/it or use her Deadname when referring to her. Even later in the book the MC is glad he's kissing a ~real~ girl. A real girl is of course only one that does not have an Adam's Apple. There is no ~oh, he's a 15-year-old cishet boy, who comes from a sheltered home, he made a stupid mistake and he will learn~. NOPE. He's constantly encouraged in his transphobia, even by adults who should know better. Now you might wonder: But why should that be such a big problem? There are assholes in this world, they exist, why does everything have to be so PC these days? Well, the answer is easy. This book is marketed as a book that has a light take on depression. A book that will show you light in the future if you suffer from depression, a book that will show you that there is a future for you and that you will get better. But don't forget: Only if you're cishet. Trans people deserve nothing but mockery and scorn and gay people don't even exist in the scope of the book. Gay is only used once to tell us it definitely doesn't mean someone attracted to the same gender, but instead something that's bad or mushy like skipping hand in hand with the person you're in love with. That's gay!

- Love Cures All: So you wanted a realistic story about overcoming depression? Well though luck my friend. Go to the mental hospital, take some pills that normally take weeks to show any effect, make out with two girls and have sex with one of them. Tada, you're now a perfectly healthy teenage boy after just 5 days. Or are you the love interest, who has been sexually assaulted (mentioned in one sentence (we don't even know what happened to her, but it was terrible, but also it caused no trauma at all, all those other weak people who can't deal with that this way are just too weak), bc of course something like that has no influence on your life)? Because well then you're soooo lucky, bc you will meet a boy and want to have sex with him in 3 days and you will be miraculously happy forever.

- Flat Female Character: No, I don't mean their chests, those are actually not flat, which is mentioned a lot of times. But the character's themselves are flat. The two Love Interests (Nia and Noelle) actually have 4 emotions: Craig kiss with me/have sex with me, Craig I'm angry at you, Craig I'm sad, Craig I love you. And yeah, that's it. Craig actually only sees them as hot and constantly thinks about how he wants to kiss them. Sometimes he's angry at Nia, but he still wants to do her. It's nice to see so much insight into the female personality.

- Casual Racism: Nia, Craigs first love interest, is Asian. Which means she's tiny, has big eyes, is apparently freak in bed and is called "The Asian Persuasion", which - yup, you guessed it - is never challenged either. Like I mentioned before she is also really flat, except that she's a bit of a Bitch too. And Craig knows nothing about her. Even though he's supposed to be Head Over Heels for her. Uhm, yeah sure.

-Unrealistic: Like I mentioned before Craig's depression is cured almost immediately after he goes to the mental hospital. He's fine after he got with Noelle. He befriends literally every single person in the hospital (except Jennifer, because trans women are gross!!), but suuure, he's not good at making friends. While positive portrayals of getting better while dealing with mental illnesses are important, something as unrealistic as that is not really a good way or portraying mental health issues. What about people who have depression, are suicidal and don't get better after five days? What about people who need to try many different pills before they find one that works? What about the depressed trans kids who only get to see themselves as the most disgusting person in this story?

So yeah, that's my disappointed and also kind of angry review for this book.

While the portrayal of depression in the first half of the novel was quite well done, the second half of the novel ruined pretty much everything, not only by making Craig an unlikeable dick, but also by rushing through it way too fast, portraying an unrealistic recovery from year long depression.

Anyways, if you want a good book about an MC with depression, a book that's ownvoices AND diverse, check out Shatterproof by Xen Sanders, which actually has a sensitive portrayal of depression and mental illness. Trigger warnings for suicide attempt, suicidal ideation and character death (not MC).
Profile Image for Idarah.
464 reviews52 followers
August 6, 2016
“Everybody has problems. Some people just hide their crap better than others.”

Craig Gilner is a fifteen-year-old Brooklynite who’s spent the past year waiting for “The Shift” to take place. Up until a year ago he wasn’t an insomniac, could hold down more than four bites of food, didn’t break out in cold sweats, could finish his sentences, and didn’t have cycling thoughts about committing suicide.

Through a series of events, Craig finds himself in the adult wing of the local psychiatric hospital where he meets a slew of different patients. Although each has a different version of events leading up to their admittance, they’re each attempting to cope with life. A semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel, the postscript mentioned the following:

“Ned Vizzini spent five days in adult psychiatric in Methodist Hospital, Park Slope, Brooklyn, 11/29/04-12/3/04. Ned wrote this 12/10/04-1/6/05.”

Something that sticks in my mind is that Vizzini was only a couple of years older than me. Ironically, he lost his battle with depression and committed suicide in December of 2013, nine years after he was hospitalized. It’s a really sobering thought. It’s also why the last paragraph of the book seems so sad. He obviously really wanted to live, and saw himself thriving on into the future. It doesn't elude me that this book had similarities to Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, also semi-autobiographical, and much like Vizzini's life, hers ended much too early.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,205 reviews19.7k followers
August 6, 2018
#BookTubeAthon Day 7, Book 7.
Challenge: Read and watch a book-to-film adaptation.

I think if you liked We Are the Ants, then you’ll like this book.
A story about a boy who deals with depression and anxiety and learning to manage it in the most beautiful way.
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,107 reviews6,571 followers
January 12, 2017
DNF at page 155 for personal reasons. I found this book extremely triggering for my anxiety and depression and could not continue.

It's fantastically written though and I still recommend it if it sounds interesting to you!

Trigger warning: suicide and suicidal thoughts, self-harm, depression, anxiety.
Profile Image for Suz.
1,155 reviews599 followers
August 31, 2018
This reader has the knack of choosing depressive stories, as does this reader have a knack for being affected by depressing stories. I was very interested in this one though as the author lost his life to the disease, and I can see through his character Craig the author had so much going on in his mind, but what a clever guy he must have been. There was a method to the madness in Craig's racy mind of mind maps, teenage angst and the depression that he was afflicted with.

What a talented author who writes Craig's story. An extremely bright teenager who realises the signs of his over-thinking mind and checks himself into hospital for having thoughts of suicide. There are little funny bits here, and as I read this some time ago I am reaching for my thoughts, but the conversation Craig has with a telephone support person. He actually couldn't reach the suicide hotline, and begins to wonder can he do anything right. The nuances and self-deprecating thoughts of a very clever yet depressed teen seem to be so spot on.

Meeting a special friend in the hospital was a turning point for Craig, here is a favourite part for me, in the form of a handwritten note from a girl to a boy. "I'M TAKING A BREAK FROM YOU. CAN'T GET TOO ATTACHED. THE NEXT MEETING WILL BE TUESDAY, SAME TIME AND PLACE. DON'T BE WORRIED THAT IT'S SUCH A LONG WAIT. I THINK YOU'RE LOVELY."
Profile Image for Bern.
192 reviews
April 24, 2013
It's Kind of a Funny Story isn't my usual kind of book, to be honest. Its synopsis makes it clear from the get-go that it's a book about a character going through some tough times, which isn't usually my thing because I'm of the opinion that we go through enough tough times ourselves without watching or reading about other people having it too, but I have myself gone through depression and I thought, "Well, here's your chance to read about tough times you actually identify with."

And weirdly enough, especially for someone who runs out of the room with his index fingers stuck in his ears, screaming "LALALA, CAN'T HEAR YOU!", whenever the tragedies of the world are being discussed, I really did connect with Craig and his ordeal with depression. Mostly because despite the theme It's Kind of a Funny Story tackles, it never lets things get on the melodramatic end of the storytelling spectrum, but also because it is one of the most lovely and lighthearted books I have read to this day.

Depression is a weird little thing, because you can never really know when or why it started; you can't get tested and be diagnosed with it; you can't have an unsafe encounter with a really bad situation and boom, it's over, you have depression, no way to back out now. Depression is a weird thing that slithers in if you let it, but that's exactly the catch: it's all inside you, inside your head. Not because it's not true, or because you're making it up, but because that's exactly where it lies. I mean, at least this is what I think, I'm not a psychiatrist, a shrink, or anything like that, but from my personal experience, that's how it works.

And there was just an immensely helpful sense of relief or, I don't know, vindication, maybe, to read about Craig's time in a mental ward and realize that it wasn't just me who felt that, somebody understood. I mean, of course I know people who have gone through it as well, but for the most part, the way Craig dealt with his issues (or non-issues) was so similar to mine that I was staggered to realize that just as in the end he understood that problems are only as big as we make them to be, so did I.

I loved the time I spent inside his head, learning about his passion for map-making, for watching other people play videogames, then for studying hard. I understood him in his self-applied pressure to never waste a second and subsequently wasting all of them, to desperately cling to the things you have and at the same time distance yourself from them. I didn't spend days or weeks reading It's Kind of a Funny Story, just mere 48 hours, but in those hours I laughed, and cried, and felt the chills all over. I read about people with all sorts of problems, from self-mutilation to drug abuse, and despite them not being real and the irrelevancy of my endless sympathy (and empathy) for them, I loved every single one of them.

In the end, a book is just a book, but a book can nudge you in the right direction, and sometimes that's all you need. I don't know if I'll ever pick up It's Kind of a Funny Story again, or if I'll ever read another book like it, but I'm glad that, for these brief 48 hours, I felt like I had someone who understood me, and who made me understand that depression isn't this huge black hole you sometimes find yourself being sucked into; depression is just what happens when you forget to live.

So live.
Profile Image for Drew.
450 reviews500 followers
September 24, 2016
4 1/2 stars. For such a moving and detailed look at an important subject, I can't believe how little I've heard about this book. I was hooked from the first sentence: “It’s so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself.”

It's Kind of a Funny Story is a brutally honest contemporary following a teen who has a mental illness - yep, it's another one of those. But out of the thousands already published, this one stood out because it was so well written.

My hat goes off to Mr. Vizzini. He gave an honest and informative description of exactly what mental illness - in this case, depression - does to a person. He showed the inner workings of fifteen year old Craig's mind, how depression slowly crept up on him and pressure built from places he'd never expected, such as school and his friends.

Craig is afraid of what he calls the "Tentacles" overwhelming him. If he gets low grades, he thinks this will set him up to get into a bad college and get a bad job and thus fail at life. He's constantly anxious and over thinking things. After one particularly bad night, Craig gets admitted into a psychiatric hospital.

The story follows Craig before he became depressed - what he calls "the time when he was happy" - and after, showing his days in the hospital and the friends he makes there who are just as screwed up as he is.

This was a very emotional story. I can be pretty cold hearted when it comes to these kinds of books, but I found myself tearing up when Craig's mom found out that her son was planning to kill himself.

The loving support provided by Craig's family was amazing; I loved the characters and their realistic relationships, the fantastic dialogue that made me crack up, and above all how the people in the hospital were painted as real, no matter what kind of illness they had. Some people think having a mental illness is "cool," a way to stand out, and that saddens me so much. Craig's friend Aaron was this way, but the author showed how horrible depression really is.

I think this could be a very important book for someone who has never experienced depression. To be able to step into Craig's shoes was eye opening.

“Sometimes I just think depression’s one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed. Because there’s so much stuff out there that you have to do something to deal with it.”
Profile Image for Alyssa.
366 reviews284 followers
October 27, 2012
I’m just going to put this out there, in case you have the preconceived notion - like I did - that this book is supposed to be a hilarious, slap-knee comedy about being a depressed teenager on the brink of suicide: this book really isn’t that funny, and I seriously wish it hadn’t been so desperate to be.

To an extent, this book is enjoyable, even credible. Within the first 100 pages of this book, the MC-underdog Greg Heffley Craig Gilner won my heart with his realistic voice, and the portrayal of his suffering, which evoked much empathy. I honestly felt pretty confident that I was bound to adding IKOAFS to my favourites list. In fact, for a while, I thought that literature had a new Holden Caufield to marvel over.

Craig’s therapist: “What happened when you woke up?"
Craig: "I was having a dream. I don’t know what it was, but when I woke up, I had this awful realization that I was awake. It hit me like a brick in the groin."
CT: "Like a brick in the groin, I see."
C: "I didn't want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that's really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you're so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare."
CT: "And what is that nightmare, Craig?"
C: "Life."
CT: "Life is a nightmare."
C: "Yes.”

You see what I mean? What sucks is that once Craig booked himself into the hospital for rehab, most of his authentic qualities flew right out the window. What began as a mostly-serious/moderately-playful book changed too quickly to revolve around a boy who forgot all about his very life-altering problems because people made him eat every meal, empathized with him, and because a pretty girl paid attention. The book felt forcefully light; instead of focusing on the depression that is taking over Craig’s life, the final 75% of the book centers on the relationships Craig has and makes, and seems to leave the biggest, heaviest, most important part of the story behind to give way to not-so-funny one-liners and bad, bad jokes. I appreciate that Vizzini recognizes that depression is often a hard subject to take, and that entertainment is a great tool to lighten the mood, but I was extremely put-off by the flippant way he treated such a serious topic, and also how he alienated his MC ‘s voice, making everything within the first quarter of the book seem like some big scam. It should also be said that the last 50 pages of the book are basically one huge lecture given by preachy doctors and even Craig himself, and that the resolution leaves much to be desired.

Aside from the too-tidy way Craig’s story was handled, Vizinni’s writing isn’t very tight - not only did slang take over nearly every conversation, but basic sentences seemed off-beat and awkwardly phrased. What also provided some eyebrow-raising was the depiction of Craig’s love interests. Neither Nia nor Noelle’s relationships with Craig were developed, nor were they based on anything else than lust, and it was really hard to enjoy any scenes featuring either girl. Every single relationship Craig made in this book seemed shallow as a puddle, though fortunately there was no DPS going on.

I don’t think I’ll be reading any more Ned Vizzini, despite how much promise the beginning of this book held. Something about his writing style has really, really grated on me, to the point where I could hardly help myself from giving up on this book. Maybe it's me being over-critical, or the fact that I know first-hand about depression and that I don't, in any way, think there's anything funny about it, but there's something about this book that has very seriously rubbed me the wrong way, whatever its source may be. Still, IKOAFS is a pretty popular reading choice amongst teens – so much so that it’s even been adapted into a movie – so I wouldn’t say not to give it a chance, since you might feel differently than I do.

2/5 stars
Profile Image for Chadi Raheb.
335 reviews352 followers
November 9, 2019
کتاب برای ژانر یانگ ادالت نوشته شده ولی هر کسی در هر سنی میتونه بخوندش و باهاش احساس نزدیکی کنه. بی غل و غش نوشته شده و این باعث میشه خودمونو از شخصیتای کتاب جدا ندونیم.
موضوع اصلی افسردگیه. از یه نوجوون شروع میشه و بعد هرچی جلوتر میریم میبینیم فقط مختص اون نیست و تمام رده های سنی رو شامل میشه.
و هر کسی روشی داره برای مقابله باهاش.

دو نکته مورد علاقه‌م استفاده از لفظ لنگر و چنگال بود.
لنگر برای هرچه که مورد علاقه‌مونه و ما رو به زندگی وصل و تشویق به ادامه میکنه.
و چنگال فشارهای اغلب بیرونی هستن

جزییات مربوط به افسردگی و همینطور روند درمان خیلی دقیق نوشته شدن
و این نشون دهنده آگاهی نویسنده نسبت به این موضوعه
و باعث تعجب هم نیست چون اگه یه کند و کاوی در مورد نویسنده کنیم میبینیم که یه دوره طولانی و به شکلی بحرانی با افسردگی شدید دست و پنجه نرم میکرده.
کتاب جوری تموم میشه که حس میکنی نویسنده راه حل رو پیدا کرده و یاد گرفته با این مشکل کنار بیاد پس این کتابو نوشته
اینجاست که با یه امای بزرگ مواجه میشیم
و این غمگینم میکنه
این شدیدا ناامید و غمگینم میکنه که کسی که این کتابو نوشته, چند سال بعدش , درست چند روز بعد از اینکه جواب خواننده های گودریدزشو همینجا داده, خودکشی میکنه

این نشون میده که مشکل همیشه هست. هم در بیرون و هم درون. و منتظر فرصت تا به سطح بیاد. و مسيله همیشه ناآگاهی نیست.
گاهی میدونیم و حتا بلدیم و عمل هم میکنیم. و حتا الهام‌بخش و نجات دهنده بقیه هم هستیم. اما جایی که قفسه, نمیشه پرواز کرد.
مسيله همیشه هم بهم ریختن هورمون ها و تعادل مغز نیست
آدم یه جاهایی جون به لب میشه
من درکش میکنم
و بهش حق میدم
اما میزان آگاهی دقیق این کتاب شدیدا غمگینم میکنه...

فیلمی هم با همین عنوان ساخته شده محصول ۲۰۱۰ و با ریت ۷.۱

پ.ن. ۲
باید بگردم دنبال لنگرها. تعداد چنگالا دیگه داره سر به فلک میزنه
Profile Image for Vanessa.
463 reviews303 followers
May 24, 2019
A book that deals with teen depression and mental illness. It’s a tough topic to tackle, but the author managed to blend some light humour in with the dark issues dealt within this book. I guess knowing that the author committed suicide himself made this book feel a little more morose. I only wish he took his own advice and listened to his own last words written in this book. 3 sad stars.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
October 10, 2019
It's Kind of a Funny Story, Ned Vizzini
Ned Vizzini's, own experience in an adult psychiatric hospital. The narrator, Craig Gilner, is 15 years old, and lives with his family. He attends the prestigious Executive Pre-Professional High School, having studied arduously to win admission. Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دهم ماه ژوئن سال 2018 میلادی
عنوان: این داستان یه جورایی با مزه‌ ست؛ نویسنده: ند ویزینی‏‫؛ مترجم: نوشین حیدری‌ثانی؛ تهران ‏‫: آذرباد‏‫، 1396؛ در 368 ص؛ شابک: 9786008537489؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21 م
عنوان: این داستان یه جورهایی بامزه‌ ست؛ نویسنده: ند ویزینی ؛ مترجم: هما قناد؛ تهران: انتشارات میلکان ‏‫، 1396؛ در 356 ص؛ شابک: 9786008812159؛

نوجوانی بلند پرواز به نام «کرگ گیلنر» قصد دارد، که در زندگی موفق شود؛ این موفقیت، مستلزم آن است که «کرگ» به دبیرستانی معتبر راه یابد، تا بتواند شغل مورد نظر خود را برگزینند. اما به محض اینکه «کرگ»، به دبیرستانی برجسته در «منهتن» وارد میشود، اضطراب و فشاری غیرقابل تحمل را بر دوش خود احساس میکند. او از غذا خوردن و خوابیدن دست میکشد و یکشب، تا آستانه ی مرگ نیز پیش میرود….؛ نقل از متن: «داشتم خواب می‌دیدم. نمی‌دونم چه خوابی بود، ولی وقتی بیدار شدم، حس افتضاحی نسبت به بیداری داشتم. نمی‌خواستم بیدار شم. وقتی خواب بودم، خیلی بیش‌تر بهم خوش می‌گذشت، و این واقعاً ناراحت‌ کننده‌ س. تقریباً چیزی مثل یه کابوس وارونه بود، مثل وقتی‌که داری کابوس می‌بینی، و از خواب می‌پری، و خیالت راحت می‌شه. منتها وقتی بیدار شدم، کابوسم شروع شد. و این کابوس که می‌گی چی هست گریگ؟ - زندگی! - زندگی یه کابوسه. - آره.»؛ «چرا بقیهٔ بچه‌ ها کارشون بهتر از من بود؟ چون بهتر بودن، دلیلش اینه. همیشه پای اینترنت می‌نشستم یا با مترو به خونه ی آرون می‌رفتم، این چیزی بود که می‌فهمیدم. بقیه سیگار نمی‌کشیدن، و خود ارضایی نمی‌کردن، و اونایی هم که می‌کردن یه موهبتی داشتن. اونا قادر بودن هم زندگی کنن و هم رقابت. من موهبتی نداشتم. مامان اشتباه می‌کرد. من فقط زرنگ بودم، و سخت تلاش می‌کردم. احمق بودم که فکر می‌کردم این برای دنیا اهمیت داره. بقیه ی مردم هم تو این حیله دست داشتن. هیچ‌کی به من نگفته بود که من معمولی‌م.»؛ پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Maede.
286 reviews413 followers
March 15, 2017

بعد از نوشتن ریویو متوجه شدم نویسنده در سن ۳۲ سالگی در سال ۲۰۱۳ خودکشی کرده ، درست همونطوری که در کتاب هست...در آخر نتونسته بوده به غول افسردگی غلبه کنه هرچند راجع بهش می نوشته و صحبت می کرده و سعی می کرده بقیه رو نجات بده...صفحه آخر این کتاب فوق‌العاده بود...وقتی که راهی برای زندگی کردن پیدا شد. ای کاش خودش هم مثل همون صفحه ی آخر راهی پیدا کرده بود

این کتاب رو کسایی درک می کنند که نوجوانی های سختی داشتند، کسایی که مدت ها تو افسردگی و فکر های بی سر و ته و
سیاه دست و پا زدن

کرگ بعد از مدت ها به شدت درس خوندن در یکی از بهترین دبیرستان های نیویورک قبول شده. حالا که به چیزی که خواسته رسیده حس می کنه به اندازه کافی باهوش نیست و از اول هم به درد اینجا نمی خورده
انقدر در این افسردگی دست و پا می زنه تا به پایین ترین نقطه ش می رسه

توضیح ذهن سیاه و درگیر و پیچیده ی یک انسان افسرده کار آسانی نیست که این نویسنده عالی از پسش بر اومده. چون خودش یکی از این ذهن ها رو داشته

گاهی باید تا پایین ترین حد ممکن بری تا متوجه شی چیزی که فکر میکردی برات عالیه در واقع داره زندگیت رو نابود می کنه
اونوقت کاش بتونی تغییرش بدی. کاش اینقدر شجاع باشی

Profile Image for Becca.
267 reviews92 followers
December 21, 2013
I really cannot describe how much this books means to me. I read it for the first time when I was only twelve years old on a trip to Wisconsin and it helped me come to terms with a situation in my life I really couldn't understand. I had read it many times between that and the last time I read it, sometime last year, when I felt almost exactly like the main character in this book did. I really cannot say in any words how much this book helped me in my life.

I hope Ned Vizzini knew how much his book helped people. I really do.
Profile Image for Romie.
1,093 reviews1,269 followers
April 3, 2017
By the time I finished this book, I was in tears. Because this end is full of hope, and this hope wasn't enough for the author, and it breaks my heart to know some people won't ever recover from depression.
But let's talk about this book a bit, shall we ?
The writing is raw, if you've been through or are suffering from depression, you'll understand what I'm talking about. What Craig is going through, it hits home for many people, it hits home for me, and I think you have to be in a specific mood to read this. At least the first half. Don't start this book if you're low, it won't make you feel better. I personally read this book when I was both feeling not really well and hopeful for the future.
Craig is a very strong character, even if he doesn't feel brave at all, because calling the Suicide Hotline, if you don't know, is fucking BRAVE. It's brave to choose to live when all you want to do is to die. I was so proud of him, so extremely proud. I really appreciated his character development, I loved the people he met and helped, the choices he made while staying at Six North, the way he now considers his life... I'm just proud of him.
It's an amazing story, it deserves to be read by everybody - especially the families of those suffering from mental illnesses - it's really important. If you feel like it, if your mental state is at the right place, do yourself a favor, and read this book.

Around the Year in 52 books 2016.
34. A book about mental illness.
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