It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny Story

4.4 614
by Ned Vizzini
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That's when things

Overview

Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That's when things start to get crazy.

At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he's just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig 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, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, 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. For a novel about depression, it's definitely a funny story.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
Ned Vizzini, the talented young author of Be More Chill (the first YA novel selected as a Today show book club pick), crafts another superb study of angst-ridden adolescence in this story of teen depression. Craig Gilner is a gifted 15-year-old boy who works hard to get into a fiercely competitive high school, then crumbles under the intense academic pressure. Blindsided by his inability to excel and terrified by thoughts of suicide, Craig checks into a psychiatric hospital where he finally gets the help he needs. Vizzini, who himself spent a brief time in psychiatric "stir," invests his novel with great emotional honesty. A graceful, skillful, and witty handling of a sensitive issue, this is an important book we heartily recommend for older teens.
Publishers Weekly
It's so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself" is the attention-grabbing first line of Vizzini's (Be More Chill) highly readable and ultimately upbeat novel. Though Craig was elated when he passed the entry exam for Manhattan's highly competitive Executive Pre-Professional High School, during his first year there he grows increasingly overwhelmed. Matters aren't helped by his new habit of smoking pot and then tormenting himself by hanging out with his best friend, Aaron, and Aaron's girlfriend, Nia, on whom Craig has a longstanding crush. Unable to eat and seriously considering suicide, Craig checks himself into a psychiatric hospital. There, Craig finds his true calling as a visual artist, begins a promising romantic relationship with another patient, helps yet another patient get a place in an adult home, and arranges a thoughtful treat for his reclusive Egyptian roommate-all in a mere five days, a timeframe that readers struggling with their own issues may find somewhat daunting. Still, few would begrudge Craig his exhilarating recovery. The author clearly has not lost his knack for conveying the textures of teenage life. Ages 13-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Craig finds it hard to smile because he wants to kill himself. Suddenly, after working so hard to get accepted into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, Craig Gilner realizes that he is just "average." He spent so long studying for the entrance exams that he forgot what it was like before and gradually his control begins to fall away. His deliberate downward spiral leads him to therapist after therapist as he sinks deeper into depression. One night he finds himself contemplating suicide. Like any intelligent teenager, he calls the suicide hotline and is directed to walk himself down to the hospital. Thus begins Craig's week long stint in the adult psychiatric ward filled with healing, despair, and self-evaluation, while allowing for comical characters and the lighter side of dealing with the ever-growing issue of adolescent depression. Ned Vizzini's newest novel is peppered with drinking, drugs, and sex, as well as familiar subjects that today's teens are faced with on a regular basis. 2006, Miramax books/Hyperion, Ages 13 up.
—Jeanna Sciarrotta
VOYA
Craig Gilner obsessively pursues his dream of being accepted into a top-quality high school. Craig's dream, however, turns into a nightmare. At his new school, Craig is no longer extraordinary. He is one of many brilliant students, and soon his perfect world crumbles. Craig lapses into depression and spends more time smoking marijuana at his friend Aaron's house. Unable to eat or even do simple tasks, Craig begins seeing therapists and taking medication. His depression worsens when he stops taking his medication, and Craig must check himself into a hospital after having suicidal thoughts. During his short stay, Craig gains a better understanding of himself and forms strong bonds of friendship with the other psychiatric patients. The author spent time in a psychiatric hospital, and so Craig's first-person account of his thoughts and feelings is poignant and authentic. This reviewer was disappointed, however, with the fairy-tale ending. Craig not only decides on a major change in his life, he also becomes romantically involved with a patient his own age, Noelle. It is questionable whether Craig and Noelle's passionate scene on the night before Craig is discharged needs to be described in more than four pages of detail. Of course, Noelle is also being discharged the next day, and Craig has her phone number tucked away in his pocket as he leaves. Despite the ending, this book will be a solid purchase for libraries looking for fiction that deals with teen depression and school pressure. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Hyperion, 448p., Ages 12 to 18.
—David Goodale
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-When 15-year-old Craig Gilner is accepted by a prestigious Manhattan high school, the pressure becomes taxing, and he finds himself battling depression. Partying and drugs don't help. As his illness intensifies, he is aided by his supportive family and perceptive therapist. A prescription for Zoloft improves things, until Craig decides that he is better and stops taking it. In a revitalized state of depression, he calls a suicide-prevention hotline and then checks into a hospital, where the only space available is in the adult psychiatric wing. There, he receives the help he needs, discovers his hidden artistic talents, and connects with the quirky patients who have plenty of problems of their own, including Noelle, a girl his own age. Craig's well-paced narrative, carefully and insightfully detailing his confusing slide and his desperate efforts to get well, is filled with humor and pathos. His thoughts reveal a sensitive teen unsure about sex, friendships, himself, and his future. An almost unbelievable amount of self-realization, including his first two romantic encounters, occurs in the whirlwind five-day hospital stay. However, the book ends on a note of hope, despite Craig's unwise anticipation of a relationship with Noelle. This novel will appeal to readers drawn to Brent Runyon's The Burn Journals (Knopf, 2004), which is another powerful but more extreme look at a likable teen returning from the brink of suicide.-Diane P. Tuccillo, City of Mesa Library, AZ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Craig Gilner, a high-school student in New York City, can't deal with his grades, keep food in his stomach or prevent himself from feeling disconnected from his friends and family. Finally, the urge to kill himself eats into his psyche, and he calls a suicide hotline that quickly recommends that he contact a nearby psychiatric hospital. Craig follows orders, checks himself in and thus begins a humorously poignant journey to recovery, love and self-worth. Vizzini's witty, self-deprecating sense of humor keeps this winding yet entertaining novel about recovery and understanding afloat. Though told in all sincerity-an afterward states Vizzini himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital in 2004-too often Vizzini idles too deeply in Craig's meandering psyche, especially in his intense reflections on minor characters. While these thoughts are truthful, it does not make them interesting. What results is a slow start to an easy, occasionally long-winded novel about a troubled boy's rise from depression to recognition and acceptance for who he is. For the readers who stick with him until the end, the results will resonate with them just as loudly as Craig's newfound credo: to live for real. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
"This book offers hope in a package that [listeners] will find enticing, and that's the gift it offers." ---Booklist Starred Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786851966
Publisher:
Miramax Books for Kids
Publication date:
04/01/2006
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile:
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"This book offers hope in a package that [listeners] will find enticing, and that's the gift it offers." —-Booklist Starred Review

Meet the Author

Ned Vizzini began writing for The New York Press at the age of fifteen. At nineteen, he had his first book published, Teen Angst? Naaah . Ned is also the author of Be More Chill, the first young adult novel ever chosen as a Today Show Book Club pick, as well as one of Entertainment Weekly's Top Ten Books for 2004. Ned lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

It's Kind of a Funny Story 4.4 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 614 reviews.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
It's Kind of a Funny Story is about 15-yr-old New Yorker, Craig Gilner. Craig is highly ambitious, spending his entire middle school career studying to get into an elite high school. Once there, Craig realizes maybe he isn't so smart after all. He has to work twice as hard as his classmates just to get by. All this pressure causes Craig to suffer from depression, preventing him from sleeping or eating. On a particularly bad night after Craig stops taking his medication, he nearly kills himself, deciding to call the suicide hotline at the last moment. From there, Craig spends the next five days in a mental hospital, possibly the most influential five days of his life. He learns to eat and sleep again, he creates friendships, discovers a passion for drawing, and he finally confronts the reason as to why he is so unhappy. I loved this book. For a book about depression, it was amazingly light-hearted. The tone was clever and humorous and very real. The cast of the novel was original and entertaining. Craig himself was a brilliant character. I don't have depression, yet could sympathize with Craig on so many levels. Craig is a teenage boy, and acts like one. He makes mistakes, but every now and then has a moment of insightful clarity. The topic of depression and mental illness was treated carefully. These people were messed up, but never seemed inhuman. All of them were very real. While the plot wasn't suspenseful, it was gripping and had me flipping the pages without hesitation. The only thing I found doubtful was Craig's miraculous recovery. Maybe with some that may be the case, but not many. It would have been difficult if they book ended any other way however, so I'm not too upset about it. It's Kind of a Funny Story was a truthful and funny story about depression I won't soon forget.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just because my headline says crying dont assume I cried because i was sad. I am a 16 yr old boy who saw so much of myself in craig n when he found his resolve i was so happy i just broke down. I found this book so influential, and such a great read i recommended this to everyone i know who is going through a hard time.
Elaina123 More than 1 year ago
When i read the synopsis i was having second thoughts about reading it because usually books about depressed people are always way to depressing. But this book was not depressing at all it was really funny and real. The character development/traits is fantastic, you really feel like you know each of the characters in this book.Most books I read are always girl's points of view, but this is a guys point of view and i loved it more than some of the girls points of views. Just because this guy seems like he is not impossible to find. This book is one that i would read over and over again and still be sad that i finished it! If you are interested in a funny,relateable,realistic, and sort of romantic book than this is the book for you.
DejaR More than 1 year ago
I am a student at Hewitt-Trussville High School in Alabama. It's Kind of a Funny Story is about this guy, Craig. Craig took a really intense test to get into an over the top school. The only problem is once he gets there, Craig realizes that all the other students are smarter than him, and the fact that he's not good enough stresses him out. As a result, he has a break down that puts him in a mental hospital. There he gets the friends that he wishes he had outside in the real world. I read this book based on my friend recommending it to me. At first I was a bit skeptical about where it was going to go, but as I kept reading I came to realize it really is a funny story. The thing I most like about this book is that it's different. It doesn't focus on the usual topics and situations. It gives you a glimpse into something real, an actual part of the author's life. Some of the ways the main character, Craig, reacts to the situations he gets in are odd, but they make perfect sense for his character. Most of the other characters are fun to read about because they represent people you'll most likely never meet in your life. It's a chance to be Craig, meet those people and learn from them like he did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is my all time favorite book. It changed my life, and after reading it I have been happier with myself. It is a feel good story, even if it doesnt seem like that in the beginning. Definaitely read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is only one of the best books of all time. I read it 3 times and no matter what just couldn't find the time to put it down.
Rich Keene More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, i really truly did. Some of the things that Craig goes through are so entirely relatable it makes me wonder if i should've been admitted into the psych ward also. I fell in love with this book, and it's creative approach to tackling life, school, and humans. It's a great buy, completely worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is more golden than ponyboy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS VOOK WAS F***ING AWESOME
FrancaF1 More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved it.  I think we all can relate to how Craig feels at times.  I found myself smiling a lot when reading this book.  It's a shame that the author Ned Vizzini couldn't overcome his depression.  May he RIP.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book Ned really captures how hard it is to feel the way Craig felt but not only Craig but other teenagers out there going through the  same thing. R.I.P Ned you were an amazing author and you will be missed. I definitely recommend this book. 
Brooklyn_Grace More than 1 year ago
R.I.P Ned Vizzini, an amazing author who saved many teenagers suffering through similar things.
ValAlive More than 1 year ago
If you're a reader, then read this book. It takes a while to settle in and feel comfortable to read but when you get swept away in Craig's life it becomes very interesting. The whole book you're rooting for this teenage guy to do the right thing, to make the right choices, and he does. This is why its such a great book, because its real and its honest. Unlike other novels , the characters don't make stupid choices that would never happen in real life. If you want a book to read. This is it.  
Laney21 More than 1 year ago
If you read the back of this book, or what it is about, you might think that it is depressing, but that is not how this book goes. It is an excellent representation of how some teenagers are feeling. It shows depression in a lighter mood. Ned Vizzini checked himself into a hospital for depression earlier on in his life, and he just kind of wrote this as his experience. "It's Kind of a Funny Story" is a wonderful book for teenagers and adults alike. I definitely recommend reading this. I'm in college right now, and I read this book before I had to read books for my classes; that's how good it really is!
wordstoliveby More than 1 year ago
I read this book after being interested in the movie, and then seeing all of the raving reviews about it. After reading about 75 pages I deemed this book "alright". It has its moments, but coming from the perspective of a 15 year old boy gets old after a while. However the characters are rich and the story isn't prolonged. Overall I would recommend this book to friends, family, and you!
lostinsouthjersey More than 1 year ago
It was a great book but the first couple of pages were confusing. This is a person who hates books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It kinda reminded me of One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest only more modern and with a teenager as the main character. This book addresses the pressures that kids face as they try to fit in but in reality the main character Craig only had to be himself and he would have been just fine. As the story unfolds 15- yr- old Craig, studies nonstop to get into an prestigious high school. Once he is a student there, the pressures there are too much for him and his life starts to fall apart. These thoughts and events are typical of depression including food issues, friends, drugs, bad thoughts, sleeping, and drinking. As he realizes he has depression he ends up calling the Suicide Hotline number and ends up in a hospital -then in a mental ward. The juvy ward is being redone so he on the adult ward and he meets some interesting people who end up helping him realize that everyone has issues and you can work through them. His high school friends call and at first make fun of him but in the end, most of them realize they have issues too and accept Craig. A few of them feel they are depressed and need help too. While in the hospital, Craig finds his hidden talent and makes a decison about going back to the high school he tried so hard to attend. I don't want to spoil the ending but Craig finds out what true friends are and he has his first girlfriend. (Great read for 5th mature 5th graders up.)
Leah Politi More than 1 year ago
i loved it! i would reccomend it for ages 13+. some iffy material...
mimiAC More than 1 year ago
so i thought is book was really good.it was a great change from all the vampire/fantasy novels i read. It was very relable and i liked how it was from a guys piont of view for a change i would read this book again and tell all my friends to read it to :)
Jozie03 5 months ago
Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story tells the life of Craig Gilner, a depressed and troubled teen. He gets incredibly stressed and depressed after getting into this prestigious high school because he realises that he’s not as smart as people made him out to be. Craig is then diagnosed with depression at age fifteen. Throughout the story, Craig mentions “Anchors”, “Tentacles”, and a “Shift.” According to Craig, Anchors are “things that occupy my mind and make me feel good temporarily.” Tentacles are “the evil tasks that invade my life.” A Shift is what he’s waiting for to happen to him, a shift is when he goes back to how he was before his depression came along. The main reason why I love this book is because, in a way, I feel a connection to it. This novel isn’t, “Oh here’s a story of this sad kid that gets over it in two days because some person came along and fixed them.” This novel is roller coaster highs and bottomless pit lows and that’s what makes it so great. Even if you don’t have depression or have never been in Craig’s position, you can still understand his point of view. You feel a connection to him even if you’ve never felt the way Craig is feeling. A theme in It’s Kind of a Funny Story is finding out who you are. Craig starts this book as one person and by the end he’s a totally different person. Throughout this book, with the help of others Craig finds himself and discovers things about himself that he wouldn’t have ever discovered on his own. This book really did appeal to me in an emotional way. At some parts I found myself crying, laughing out loud, or even being angry at what was happening in the book. As typical as this may sound, you will not regret reading this book, it’s kind of a funny story.
Drunkie_Owl 7 months ago
I can't say I didn't like the book. It wasn't bad. It had some funny moments in it, but overall, I guess, this book won't be perfect for you can't relate to the story. I have never faced the problems the main character has, and I believe that's why I wasn't totally into it. Yet, if you are a teenager who faces a lot of problems with school, peers and/or the first love, then I can definitely recommend you this book.
Silverman 9 months ago
As a high school student, this was a great read. Whether you can relate to "It's Kind of a Funny Story", or not, you'll never be able to put this down. Personally, I can EASILY relate to Craig. Not only did I also take Zoloft and stop taking it, but I felt all the same things Craig was feeling, and experienced all of the same levels of therapy he did after I overdosed on Ambien due to uneven chemicals in my brain from refusing to take my Zoloft (which caused many, many negative effects, both which Craig and I both experienced.) But, like I said before, being able to relate to this book shouldn't determine if you read it or not. The depth of this novel will teach you more about the types of mental illness and what it's like to experience it than any health class ever will. A lot of people will still ask the question, "but is this actually a funny book with a topic as serious as this is?" And the answer to that, is yes. As sad as this book sounds, there are many parts that will have you laughing out loud. Ned Vizzini does an absolutely outstanding job at expressing what it truly feels like to be depressed, what hospitalization after a suicide attempt is like, and most importantly, how much better life will get if you get the help you need and work to do what makes you happy.
Nim_ 11 months ago
Wow, this is such a great book! My friends wanted to go see the film, so of course I had to read the book first. The book is about Craig, a 15-year-old overachiever from a good family, who is extremely stressed out and feels under so much pressure that he thinks about committing suicide. Luckily, he decides this isn't normal and calls a hotline, which lands him straight in a mental hospital, where he meets an interesting group of people. I'm not sure about you, but I wasn't convinced by the originality of the story. It's nothing I hadn't encountered before. Boy, was I wrong. This book is phenomenal. Maybe it's because the author actually had experience with being in such a hospital himself, because the descriptions and feelings are written so well, so raw, so believable and so, so beautiful. I felt like I could really connect to Craig and the book really helped me to understand depression better. However, the book itself was far from depressing, there was so much humor in there! Experiencing Craig's road to self-discovery, seeing his brain-maps in your mind, and relating to the pressures he feels in life is a beautiful experience. I honestly believe everyone will recognize a part of him/herself in Craig and will be helped a teeny tiny bit by reading this book. We're all under pressure, we're all a bit crazy, but we can all find our voice and overcome our fears.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago