Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That's when things start to get crazy.
At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he's just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping-until, one night, he nearly kills himself.
Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. For a novel about depression, it's definitely a funny story.
A Memorable Novel On Clinical Depression Which Will Interest Adults Too
By John Kwok - June 11, 2007
When I moved back to New York City a decade ago, I was drawn immediately to the pages of the free alternative weekly "The New York Press". Why? Back then it had a terrific stable of eloquent columnists, ranging from Jonathan Ames and Melissa de la Cruz to fellow Brunonian Amy Sohn. But I thought the most remarkable person writing for them was a young high school student, Ned Vizzini, who would soon become a fellow alumnus of our prestigious New York City public high school, Stuyvesant High School, which is of course best known for its Nobel Prize-winning alumni, other distinguished scientists, doctors, engineers and lawyers, legendary Hollywood movie stars like James Cagney and Tim Robbins, and a certain former member of its faculty, one bestselling memoirist by the name of Frank McCourt. Although I haven't been following his subsequent career as diligently as I should, I was quite impressed back then with Vizzini's crisp, clear prose, and fine ear for clever dialogue. All of these... read more
Now I Understand Mental Health
By Ecila - June 16, 2011
Before I read this book, I bought it for a friend as a birthday gift. About two, three years later, I finally decide to pick it up and read it myself. It was about October when I started and I finished it sometime before December. There was one line in the book that really changed my life. It was Craig was first checked into the hospital and when he's having a discussion with Humble. Humble says something along the lines of how he's afraid of living and not dying. When I read that I really understood what it's like to have a mental health disorder.
The way this book was written can resemble a memoir because Vizzini wrote this book after he was released from a hospital himself. And that's what makes it more realistic for the reader. As a young adult myself who is still in school, active in various extra curriculars, and dealing with relationships, this book is very relatable and shockingly real. This book is a great read for that reason. If you know someone who has a mental... read more
What Are Your Tentacles?
By Jonathan Stephens "Jonathan Stephens" - June 16, 2006
If anyone compares Ned Vizzini to Ken Kesey, don't listen to them. He's different because I said so. And because he is. In so many good ways.
His third book, IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, takes its readers on an honest (and, in the end, refreshing) plunge into Craig Gilner's teenage depression and resurfaces in world that, five days later, feels real for the first time. He looks like your everyday modern kid until he sneaks out in the middle of the night and admits himself into a mental hospital. Why would he do that? If you asked him, he'd tell you it's because of all the Tentacles. Too many Tentacles and not enough Anchors. The stresses of life are wrapping him so tightly that he's not sure he can handle it. Even if he wants to.
The thing about Tentacles (Yes, it's spelled correctly) is he'd cut them off if he could, but if he did, he'd end up a failure. That's how life is right? He studies his brains out to ace the entrance exam and get into Executive... read more
Dog starts off the day with one black spot on his ear. But it seems that wherever he goes, he runs, rolls, and trots right into colors. As he wanders around town, Dog collects spots made of red jam, ...