Monday, March 25

book talk: it's kind of a funny story

Here is a grand understatement: I've read a lot of good books this year.  
And here is a truth: I haven't blogged about them because I missed the obvious equation blogger + English teacher + reader = posts about books.  

Now that I've added that little number up, I'm ready to right some wrongs.  

To start, let's discuss the book I finished Saturday: It's Kind of a Funny Story.  
In a nutshell: Craig, the protagonist, aces the entrance exam to an elite high school.  When he gets there he goes from being the 1% to being average.  Except he processes average as being subpar and destined for failure.  He becomes seriously depressed and, after almost committing suicide, checks himself into a psychiatric ward.

Routine side note (because would it be a post without one?): 
I recently talked to someone who did psych work at BYU and they said a lot of freshman go through a similar cycle because they don't know how to handle not being the "smartest."  I went through a mild case of the mediocres, myself, freshman year.  I remember hearing someone comment about how they appreciated the, "juxtaposed elements blah blah blah..." and promptly ran out of class to call my mom.  Here was our conversation:
Me: "Hi, just checking: would you still love me if I failed out of college and became a hobo?"
Mom: "That's not going to happen.  But, if it did--and it won't--I'd buy you a ticket to Costa Rica so you could at least be a hobo in reasonable conditions."
She's a good, good woman.

Anyway.  Where was I?  Oh, right, It's Kind of a Funny Story. 
It's just an endearing book that tackles depression without being the least bit depressing. Vizzini's voice is funny and self-deprecating, while still managing to adequately address significant mental health issues.  I love that Vizzini created a character who suffered from a mental illness and yet still doubted its very existence. Our mental health stereotypes and biases are so far-reaching that even those actually suffering from serious medical conditions doubt their effects.  At one point Craig, the main character, says something along the lines of, "I was freaking out for nothing.  Everyone knows depression is just a prima-donna cry for attention."  

So, yeah, quality material.  And also--hilarious.  Once he checked himself into the psychiatric ward, I was sold.  The characters are [ready for an actual quote from a student's latest essay?], "amaze-balls."  Oh those characters.  The. Best.  I just want to be best friends with them all.

And--here comes the kicker--Ned Vizzini wrote this in the month following his release from a psychiatric ward.  The characters are awesome because they were inspired by real people in a real psych ward. it and then let's grab a Red Mango and chat, mmmkay?



  1. This book sounds fantastic- have you seen the movie? It's hysterical in every way...and also devastating. But the book sounds better, as always.

  2. I love that you're blogging about books now! Definitely going to keep this one in mind for some day when I have time to read again.

  3. can we go to red mango and chat before i finish the book?

  4. Sydney--haven't watched it but probably will (Zach Galifianakis? Yes, please).