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It's Kind of a Funny Storyby Ned Vizzini
Synopses & Reviews
Like many smart, ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner seeks entry into Manhattan's most prestigious school, Executive Pre-Professional High School. With single-minded determination, he works night and day to ace the entrance exam and gets in. That's when everything starts to unravel.
Once Craig starts his new school, he realizes he's just one of many brilliant kids, and he isn't even brilliant, he's average. As Craig starts getting so-so grades, he sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. He begins to have trouble eating, sleeping, and thinking — that's when he tells his parents he's depressed. He goes on medication and talks to therapists, but things keep getting worse, until one night Craig feels so low that he seriously considers suicide.
But instead, Craig calls a hotline. The counselor tells him to get to the nearest hospital, and before he knows it, he's signed, sealed, and delivered into one of Brooklyn's finest psychiatric units.
Craig's new roommate is an Egyptian schoolteacher who refuses to get out of bed. His neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, and a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors. But somehow in this motley crew, Craig finds real friends and kindred spirits who give him strength.
This is a remarkably moving and authentic picture of the physicality, the despair, and even the hilarity, of depression.
"It's so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself' is the attention-grabbing first line of Vizzini's (Be More Chill) highly readable and ultimately upbeat novel. Though Craig was elated when he passed the entry exam for Manhattan's highly competitive Executive Pre-Professional High School, during his first year there he grows increasingly overwhelmed. Matters aren't helped by his new habit of smoking pot and then tormenting himself by hanging out with his best friend, Aaron, and Aaron's girlfriend, Nia, on whom Craig has a longstanding crush. Unable to eat and seriously considering suicide, Craig checks himself into a psychiatric hospital. There, Craig finds his true calling as a visual artist, begins a promising romantic relationship with another patient, helps yet another patient get a place in an adult home, and arranges a thoughtful treat for his reclusive Egyptian roommate — all in a mere five days, a timeframe that readers struggling with their own issues may find somewhat daunting. Still, few would begrudge Craig his exhilarating recovery. The author clearly has not lost his knack for conveying the textures of teenage life. Ages 13-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Craig's well-paced narrative, carefully and insightfully detailing his confusing slide and his desperate efforts to get well, is filled with humor and pathos." School Library Journal
"Ned Vizzini's newest novel is peppered with drinking, drugs, and sex, as well as familiar subjects that today's teens are faced with on a regular basis." Children's Literature
"For the readers who stick with him until the end, the results will resonate with them just as loudly as Craig's newfound credo: to live for real." Kirkus Reviews
A contemporary YA drama about a young man suffering from Schizophreniform disorder, who falls into a love triangle with a girl in his class...and a girl in his head.
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.
“Mad crashes into happy and sad bounces off of guilty until they all live in a big smoky heap in my mind.” Fourteen-year-old Cameron Galloway of Lexington, Washington, understands that he has schizophreniform disorder and needs to take pills to quiet the voices in his head. But he likes the voices, especially the gentle, encouraging voice of The Girl. Conflicted, he turns to his friend Nina Savage, who is clinically depressed and can relate to his horror of the numbing effects of medication. They make a pact to ditch the pills. At first they feel triumphant, but soon Camerons untreated mind goes haywire—to disastrous effect.
About the Author
Ned Vizzini's own experience in a psychiatric hospital inspired him to write this story. He is also the author of Be More Chill and Teen Angst? Naah...
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