It's Kind of a Funny Story
First edition cover
|Genres||Teen Novel, Comedy|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
It's Kind of a Funny Story is a 2006 novel by American author Ned Vizzini.The book was inspired by Vizzini's own brief hospitalization for depression in November 2004. The book received recognition as a 2007 Best Book for Young Adults from the American Library Association.
Craig, the narrator, is 15, and lives with his family in an upper-middle class Brooklyn neighborhood. He attends the prestigious Executive Pre-Professional High School, having studied arduously to win admission. Once admitted, however, he becomes overwhelmed by the school's intense academic pressure. His stress eventually manifests itself in an eating disorder, use of pot, affected sleep habits, and suicidal thoughts. After he stops taking medication prescribed by his psychiatrist, his depression builds until, unable to fend off his suicidal ideation, he calls 1-800-SUICIDE and is admitted to a nearby psychiatric hospital. He meets many other patients, some friendly, others reclusive or delusional, and is supported and encouraged by his family and school principal once they learn of his hospitalization. Craig meets a female patient, Noelle, who coped with a history of sexual abuse by cutting her face with scissors. In isolation from the outside world, and with help from Noelle, Craig confronts the sources of his anxiety and regains his health. During his recovery, Craig experiments with art, specifically stylized human figure maps, and discovers he has a great deal of natural talent and ability. Once Craig has recovered, his counselor suggests he transfer to an art school, a thought that excites Craig. He returns home at novel's end having undergone a mental shift.
Critics recognized many themes in It's Kind of a Funny Story, such as peer pressure, being yourself, and finding out who you are. Kirkus Reviews stated that the novel addresses "the influence of peer pressure," and how depression is about being oneself and "acceptance for who he is."
A number of critics suggested that It's Kind of a Funny Story is a funny but sometimes dull story. Kirkus Reviews stated, "while these thoughts are truthful, it does not make them interesting." They also added, "what results in a slow start to an easy, occasionally long-winded novel." Despite the occasional dullness, they also praised the book to be "humorously poignant." Another critic, Jennifer Brabander from The Horn Book Magazine, also praised Vizzini, stating "despite the serious topic, Vizzini again manages to be quite funny."
In It's Kind of a Funny Story, most critics agreed that the book is believable and seems real. It is mostly based on the author, Ned Vizzini's, own experience in an adult psychiatric hospital. Jennifer Brabander, an author in the The Horn Book Magazine, stated, " A bulk of this novel (which is based in part on Vizzini's own experience) remains believable." Ned Vizzini also agreed with this statement when James Blasingame interviewed him. Vizzini stated, "It's Kind of a Funny Story was based on my real life and is 85% true." Also a number of critics agreed that it seems real. Vizzini stated in his interview,"I put Craig in adult psychiatric because I actually went into adult psychiatric in November 2004." Brabander also agreed when she wrote, "Vizzini spent 5 days himself in a psychiatric hospital, which inspired him to write this book."
In 2010, Focus Features released a film adaptation directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. The film starred Keir Gilchrist as Craig, along with Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Zoë Kravitz and Lauren Graham. The film received generally positive reviews.
- "It's Kind of a Funny Story - Hardcover". Ned Vizzini official website. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
- American Library Association (2007). "2007 Best Books for Young Adults". Retrieved 2011-02-03.
- Vizzini, Ned (August 17, 2010). "Quick Update: IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY: Poster and New, **Wider** Release Date (October 8, 2010)". Ned Vizzini. Archived from the original on August 17, 2010. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- "It's Kind of a Funny Story". Kirkus Reviews 74 (5). 1 March 2006. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
- "Vizzini, Ned: It's Kind of a Funny Story". Kirkus Reviews 74 (7): 358. 1 April 2006. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Brebander, Jennifer (May–June 2006). "Ned Vizzini: It's Kind of a Funny Story". The Horn Book Magazine 82 (3): 336. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Blasingame, James (April 2007). "Interview with Ned Vizzini". Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 50 (7): 607. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "It's Kind of a Funny Story Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-10-14.