It’s Kind of a Funny Story, if you haven’t already heard of it, is Ned Vizzini’s wonderfully pragmatic approach to the tale of an average 16-year-old in Manhattan dealing with severe depression. Craig, a perfectly sane and likeable teenager, decides to check himself into a psychiatric hospital the night after finding himself inches from suicide. Once there, he begins to discover his own strength and talent, all the while becoming familiar with a motley crew of hospital patients – some young and temporary, like himself, and some more indefinitely troubled, all of whom play a large role in his change in outlook on life and self-realization.
This book can really be read by anyone, and even though it deals with some fairly hefty subject matter, it’s handled in a way that anyone who’s had even the most minor of self-doubt or depression can relate to. Vizzini writes the good in with the bad, and Craig, as a narrator, never fails to come across as understandable and good-humoured, even when he’s at his worst. However, this is never at the expense of the profundity of some of the heavier focuses in the novel; even at points where the narrative is laugh-out-loud funny, the voice of Craig is so believable as a victim of standard depression that his battle becomes yours as well.
As one of the most relevant and realistically narrated novels I’ve ever read, I strongly recommend that you read this book. Whether you’re dealing with issues of your own that fall under the depression umbrella or not, Vizzini’s take on an average adolescent struggling with life’s ups and downs is as exhilarating as it is heart-wrenching.