Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mock Printz: It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Title: It's Kind of a Funny Story
Author: Ned Vizzini
Publisher: Miramax
Starred review in: Booklist (2-1-06), Publishers Weekly (4-10-06), School Library Journal (April), nominated to Best Books for Young Adults
Review: Bright but mostly directionless Craig Gilner is under a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed at his prestigious Manhattan private high school. He studied for months before the entrance exam and aced said exam, but life in his classes is much more involved and time-consuming than the test would lead him to believe. Craig frets over not being an overachiever and spirals into depression. He can't eat, feels distant from his few friends, and contemplates suicide. On the advice of a suicide hotline worker, he checks himself into the psychiatric ward of his local hospital, where he begins the journey to recovery. The hospital gives him the opportunity to find out what it is that he loves to do, and he resolves to "live for real."

I felt torn while reading this, like I never knew whether to laugh or cry. Craig's situation is tragic, but Vizzini, who based Craig's experience on his own, uses dry humor, honesty, and perspective to make Craig into someone completely likeable, who we want to succeed and be happy. Unlike many other teens with depression, Craig is lucky enough to have a supportive, loving family who wants nothing more than to see him get better. Underneath the story, there's a lot of commentary on the high pressures to achieve both socially and academically that today's teens face, and the consequences of this pressure. This book is one of my personal top five of 2006.
Reviewed by: Carlie W., BCCLS

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