Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's Kind of a Funny Story

“It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is a modest title. This book is extremely funny. Ned Vizzini writes from the perspective of Craig, a 15-year-old who attends Executive Pre-Professional High School in Manhattan. Craig is average but he wants to be exceptional. He suffers from depression and anxiety. How Vizzini turns topics like depression and suicidal thoughts into comedy beats me. At the end of the book, Vizzini reveals that he spent a month in an adult psychiatric ward in Brooklyn and that he wrote this book between12/10/05 and 1/6/05. That tells me that Ned Vizzini is like Craig in more than one way. Apparently, the author is also an overachiever who likes to show off that he wrote a novel in less than one month.

This YA novel can be enjoyed by older readers as well as teenagers. The dialogue is spot on. Vizzini makes his characters funny without making fun of them. One thing I admire besides Vizzini’s strong voice and talent for writing humor is his ability to write lists. Take this passage for example:

The party was like a movie-it should have been a movie. It was the best movie I'd ever seen-where else did you get shattering glasses, a kid trying to break-dance in the living room, a dictionary being thrown at a roach, a kid holding his head in the freezer and saying it could get you high, orange vomit spread out in a semi-circle in the kitchen sink, people yelling out the windows that "school sucks," rap music declaring "I want to drink beers and smoke some shit," and one poor soul snorting a Pixie Stik, then hacking purple dust into the toilet . . .? Nowhere.

"It’s Kind of a Funny Story" was made into a movie, which I am going to watch one of these days, but after this book, the movie will be a tough act to follow.

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