Title: It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Author: Ned Vizzini
Publication Date: 2006
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Price: $9.99 (Paperback)
Number of Pages: 444
Awards: ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Genre/Subgenre: Realistic Fiction
Craig is about to spend five days in a hospital mental ward that will change the way he thinks about everything.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is about a fifteen-year-old named Craig who is struggling with depression and anxiety. After intending to commit suicide, Craig decides to check himself into the mental ward at a local hospital. Because the teen ward is closed for maintenance, he is placed in the adult ward and meets a unique cast of characters. Over the five days of his hospitalization, Craig comes to know the other patients and build relationships with them. He forms a particular bond with Noelle, a girl who has scarred her face with scissors. Craig also rediscovers a childhood love for drawing maps that helps him cope with his illness and gives him hope that he can get better.
This was a very interesting read, and I think it does an excellent job of capturing what it is like to struggle with depression. Ned Vizzini created a multifaceted, complicated narrator in Craig and I think readers will definitely relate to him and root for him to succeed. After I finished the book I learned that the author actually had committed suicide last year, which brought a new perspective to the book for me. The novel ends on a hopeful note, which I liked, and it was very sad to find out that the author was ultimately unable to achieve the peace that Craig seems to at the end of the novel.
Why I Chose the Book:
I chose this novel because I was interested in the subject matter and I think it’s important for teens struggling with mental health to have books like this to read. I think it can be very encouraging.
Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern
Not as Crazy as I Seem by George Harrar
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Book Talk Ideas
Host a screening of the film version of It’s Kind of a Funny Story. This novel would also work as part of a curriculum or program on mental health awareness.
1. This novel was based on the author’s experiences as a teenager. In what ways does it read as autobiographical?
2. Compared to other depictions you have seen in books or media, how were the mentally ill characters in the novel portrayed? How does this impact the novel?
Goodreads (2014). It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. Retrieved from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/248704.It_s_Kind_of_a_Funny_Story
“It’s Kind of a Funny Story.” NoveList K-8. EBSCO, 20 May 2006. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. <http://0-web.a.ebscohost.com.catalog.sjlibrary.org/novpk8/detail?vid=6&sid=5d610195-288e-4982-b096-a0e39a981804%40sessionmgr4005&hid=4214&bdata=JnNpdGU9bm92cGs4LWxpdmU%3d#db=njh&UI=144184>.
Vizzini, N. (2006). It’s Kind of a Funny Story. New York: Hyperion Books for Children.