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It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny Story

by Ned Vizzini

Inspired by the author's real-life, five-day, in-patient treatment for depression, this 2006 novel was made into a movie in 2010. On December 19, 2013, the author died of an apparent suicide at the age of 32. For me, knowing the tragic ending to Vizzini's real-life struggle with mental illness changes this novel from instilling a sense of hope to underscoring the seriousness of depression, especially among perfectionists and high achievers. The novel is told from the point of view of a 15 year-old boy who worked hard to get into a prestigious Manhattan prep school only to feel not-good-enough after he is admitted. Unable to eat or sleep, overwhelmed by his own high expectations, and jealous of his friend's easy successes, the main character thinks about jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. Instead, he calls the Suicide Hotline, checks himself into the hospital, and thrives in the scheduled routine of the adult psychiatric ward with its controlled choices, simple tasks, and art-and-crafts therapy where he discovers a hobby he loves - drawing brain maps. The tentacles-and-anchors metaphor might resonate with readers who feel over-scheduled, over-emailed, and overwhelmed - while the fear of a single failure leading to a domino effect of failing at life might be all-too familiar to perfectionists. A good book for group discussion. -- Added by Nimble Novice on 03/05/2014