Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Friday, April 15, 2011

Plot Summary:
Life for Craig Gilner is just unbearable. Not only is he struggling to keep up with his homework, he is obsessed with success to the point that his anxiety and stress levels not on mentally affect him, but physically.After being accepted into a pre-professional high school, he realizes it is a lot harder than he thought. On top of all the classwork, his best friend, Aaron, who is a genius, is a constant reminder that he is "better" than Craig, especially when Aaron starts dating Nia, the girl he is in love with. Unwilling to deal with life, Craig falls into depression and decides that he wants to commit suicide; however, before jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, he calls the suicide hotline for advice where he decides to check himself into the hospital. As the one of the youngest, and the most sane, patient on Six North, Craig meets a group of interesting characters who not only have worse problems than Craig, but provide him with comfort and affirmation that he can get better.

Critical Evaluation:
Ned Vizzini tackles a very serious, and sensitive, subject with class and humor. Not only is Craig a genuine character, his development and his voice captivate readers. Teens who read this novel and, who also suffer from depression, will not only find someone to relate to, but someone who can inspire them to take care of themselves and learn from this situation. Teens will also realize that not matter what happens in their lives, as long as they have someone to talk to, they can overcome their obstacles.The message in this book is very clear: when we do get down about life, we have to remember that there are worse situations and in order to overcome that fear, we must face it head on. 

Reader's Annotation:
Fifteen-year-old Craig Gilner suffers from a major depression and checks himself into a hospital for suicidal tendencies where he meets a group of people who will change his life forever. 

Information about the Author:
According to Harper Collins Publisher, "Ned Vizzini began writing for the New York Press at the age of 15. At 17, he was asked to write a piece for the New York Times Magazine, and at 19, he published Teen Angst? Naaah…, his autobiography of his years of Stuyvesant High School" (para.1). Ned Vizzini has accomplished a lot at a young age; however, life became complicated when he checked himself into a Brooklyn hospital because of suicidal thoughts. After staying for a few days, Vizzini decided to write about his experience, which is how he came to write It's Kind of a Funny Story. Vizzini has published three critically acclaimed young adult novels that have not only generated a large fan base, but one of them was turned into a motion picture: It's Kind of a Funny Story starring the hilarious Zach Galifinakis as Bobby/Humble. At the moment, Vizzini is working on his fourth novel, The Other Normals, will be released in the Fall 2012. Vizzini continues to be a mental health advocate by writing about teen issues and provides readers with resources about staying sane in college and high school.

Teen Contemporary Fiction

Curriculum Tie-In's:
This could be an excellent resource for teens who not only suffer from emotional problems, but teens who take health classes that want to focus on psychology will learn a thing or two from this story.

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to It's Kind of a Funny Story:

Awards & Recognition:
  • Starred review in Booklist (2/1/2006)
  • Starred review in Publisher's Weekly (4/10/2006)
  • Starred review in School Library Journal (4/1/2006)

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. You have a very insightful review. :)

    Here's mine if you don't mind:

    Thanks and have a nice day! :)


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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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