Reed Books: It’s Kind Of A Funny Story

Reed+Books%3A+It%27s+Kind+Of+A+Funny+Story

Jess Reed, Staff Writer

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini follows a teenager, Craig, as he enters a mental hospital after attempting suicide. Surprisingly sweet and hopeful, the novel does a good job balancing Craig’s own cynicism to the situation without antagonizing mental health professionals.

A common issue in media that deals with mental health, especially regarding teenage characters, is that the author can often make therapists, medication, and other versions of help come across as something to be avoided. Characters often want nothing to do with these things, wanting to find “real happiness” on their own. However, Vizzini does a good job making the point that “real happiness” can come from any place, and accepting help does not make someone weak. While Craig is hesitant about going to a mental hospital, often thinking about what he wants to do when he leaves, he still recognizes the possibility that it could genuinely help him and, fortunately, it does. When he is finally discharged, Craig feels more prepared to deal with his mental health issues because of his time there. While it doesn’t always work for everyone, seeking help is not like a cheat code to get out of your life problems; it’s a way to help you tackle them, and find peace within yourself.

This authenticity clearly comes from Vizzini’s own time in a mental health hospital. He even writes in the back of the book: “Ned Vizzini spent five days in adult psychiatric in Methodist Hospital, Park Slope, Brooklyn, 11/29/04-12/3/04. Ned wrote this 12/10/04-1/6/05.” By being so open about his own struggles, Vizzini further emphasizes the idea of the novel: help does not make you weak. Anything that keeps you alive and happy is worth doing.

Overall, It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini is an important novel that highlights the highs and lows of mental health, and handles its more controversial aspects with grace.