Let me introduce you to one of my favourite books…
I’m always fascinated to read books that tackle mental illness. The success of It’s Kind Of A Funny Story is because it is incredibly authentic, as it was inspired by Ned Vizzini’s experiences of being hospitalised for depression, offering a very real and unique outlook on the condition.
In this story, ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life. Gaining acceptance into an elite Executive Pre-Professional High School in Manhattan is only the beginning of his issues, and all the extreme effort and all-night cramming sessions to get top marks at high school now seem average. Craig soon finds himself unable to eat, sleep and unable to find enjoyment in just about everything, except from peeing. Yes, peeing. You go in, you get it done, you achieve what you set out to do, and you’re finished. The pressure from his family, friends and college becomes unbearable, he spirals into a deep depression and nearly committing suicide. Instead, he changes his mind and admits himself into the psychiatric ward of his local hospital. While there he confronts the sources of his anxiety, and meets a number of characteristic and troubled characters who’s lives Ned allows the audience to explore without over-powering the main character.
Ned beautifully portrays the awful psychological and physical mental illness can inflict, as well injecting some humour into the story – a light hearted contrast to this novel’s sensitive topic.
This is an incredibly powerful and moving read about depression and mental health – made all the more so by Ned Vizzini’s devastating suicide in 2013. Rest in peace Ned, and thank you for giving us such a personal story that will continue to help and inspire generations to come.
Buy your copy here.