Book of the week: “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini

Pramika Kadari, Copy Editor

Ned Vizzini’s casual but impactful masterpiece It’s Kind of a Funny Story made me remember how much I love novels after a stressful semester of school during which I barely read.


At the beginning, clinically depressed teenager Craig Gilner considers attempting suicide but instead checks himself into a psychiatric ward. A variety of other patients interact with him throughout his five days at the hospital, from drug addicts to a man who refuses to leave his bed. From each of these people, Gilner learns something more about the human condition. The novel details Gilner’s stay at the ward –  the highs and lows, the parts that make you cry and the parts that make you laugh.


The book’s most beautiful aspect is how it deals with extremely weighty topics and complex emotions, but is rarely depressing. Despite it accurately representing Gilner’s depression by giving him thoughts such as “I just want to not be me” and “I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of living”, it eventually slaps him in the face by yelling that he is wrong – that he should want to be himself; that he should love life, not fear it. And that’s what makes the story feel uplifting rather than depressing.


By the end, although he is not completely healed, Gilner’s growth is subtly evident. Vizzini illustrates his characters’ development through actions and dialogue rather than narration – a sign of stellar writing. Gilner decides to quit his cutthroat, selective high school and attend a less intense school while following his passion of art; he decides to draw more, to volunteer, to run, to enjoy life.


The book is exceptional, but Craig’s instant romance with his fellow patient Noelle is unrealistic; their connection would have been more believable it’s pace slowed.


Although it has been nearly two years since I read the book, its simple but powerful last words stick in my mind: “So now live for real, Craig. Live. Live. Live. Live.”

Rating: 4.45/5