Ned Vizzini “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”

“Shhhhhh! Healing in progress.”

Claig Gilner suffers from depression. Not because of loneliness, bullying, having a broken heart, having abusive parents or the lack of friends. He does not stay holed up at his place, drowning in alcohol and drugs and blaming the world for all his problems. No, Craig is only fifteen and he is afraid to “fail in life”. He completely abandoned his social life for a year to prepare for an entrance exam to a special high school – the school where graduates enter Yale and Harvard and then head right to Wall Street. If one does not get into a prestigious university, one cannot get a good job and get paid well. Without the money one cannot pay for the apartment and the bed where one sleeps and thus will be tossed out onto the street to become homeless and therefore have one’s life become completely worthless.

This is how Craig think. All these thoughts, combined with excessive school workload made him afraid of becoming a failure, “afraid not to die, but to live.” And one night, when the inability to eat and sleep becomes utterly unbearable, Craig decides to jump from the Brooklyn bridge. Being the levelheaded person that he is, he ends up in an adult psychiatric ward, instead of a river, with a rather colorful set of individuals all dysfunctional in their own way.

Drawing from his personal experience, the author tells the story of a struggle to be normal. However, it is not told from the point of view a psychotic person who is angry at the world. Not at all, it is an authentic story about the process of understanding oneself and those around him. It’s about talking to doctors, taking prescribed drugs and feeling better or as low as it can possibly get. Craig’s ‘lament’ is full of teenage antics, overall humor and search for love and happiness. The book gives a positive outlook on depression: it is okay to be that way, “everybody is on medication, anyway”, it is okay to visit physiatrists. Day by day, chapter by chapter, the readers witness the process of healing described in a bit of a quirky way, but the funny story still entails the depth of a philosophical novel.

So now live for real. Live. Live. Live. Live. Live.

New York: Hyperion, 2007

Check from the e-catalogue ESTER

Olga Ivaškevitš
Väike-Õismäe branch library

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