On Reading

"When you read a book, you don't just read, you journey. This is why at first, one is always regretful upon nearing the last page, thinking that it all ends there. But it is when we look into our minds after reading that we find the new world we discovered and with dawning realization see the truth of the matter:
...that the journey never ends."

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review: It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

One of the praises said about this book is that “it’s important.” And after reading it, I can say that it definitely is. It’s a book that reminds you of the things in life that are important. With so much going on for everyone, our priorities at times get jumbled up. The thing is, we think we know what we want, we know what we have to do to get there, and we’re all fine on our own. But in reality, we all need people who want to be there for us, who remind us that sometimes, what we want is not exactly what we need, and Ned Vizzini tells that story creatively. 

It’s Kind of A Funny Story revolves around Craig Gilner, a fifteen-year old who has depression. Legit depression, which is ironic considering he got into the school he wanted and really worked for. He takes medicines for it, and has a hard time keeping anything he eats down. When one night he almost kills himself, Craig admits himself to a mental hospital, and the people he meets there all teach him some things about life that he seems to have forgotten.


There’s only a handful of books and authors that address real-life issues with creativity and wit, and I thank Vizzini for being brave to do so. It’s not easy, given that it’s a sensitive topic, but Vizzini, who got admitted to a mental hospital himself, understands it’s necessary and needed. I salute his ability to take something so practical and saddening, and make it into a funny story that still goes deep and teaches real-life lessons. Behind the facades of everyone who claim to be alright, there are a lot of people who need help, and I say this book is for them. With so much crazy in this world, it’s hard to stay sane and functional, and for Craig, the mental hospital proved to be a sanctuary, which would be hard to believe considering his companions there have their own issues too. But no, it’s probably because of that—the fact that his neighbors there have their own issues—that Craig realizes the important things in life. Which brings me to Six North. I loved Six North, and the people there, too. Often I found myself wondering why they were there, because it seems as though people outside are more problematic than they are. Little things such as their art classes, music classes, and watching the movie Blade endeared this book to me. It was also very realistic, because it showed that some people get better, and some people don’t. However, that doesn’t lessen the fact that every person has his own story and that there’s always something to learn from someone. And, of course, it goes without saying that Craig deserves a round of applause for this book. Despite his claims of being sad enough to kill himself, despite the army man inside him, despite bad influences in friends, I loved him for holding on to life for his family and for himself, for his heart that kept on insisting he live.


The only thing that could’ve improved this book, for me, is if Vizzini developed some of the characters further. I would’ve loved to read about their stories, like how Charles became Jessica, what Solomon’s deal is, how it came to Jimmy, and such. We were given glimpses into their lives, and I wanted to know more. Then again, this is Craig's story.

Books like this are books that prove to be worthwhile, not only because it’s realistic and it reaches out to everyone—because come on, let’s face it, we all have issues—but also because it teaches you lessons that should be remembered and taken into heart. Living, in general, isn’t a bed of roses, but as Craig soon realizes in Six North, often, the good outweighs the bad if you know how to change your perspective, if you know how to focus your lens on the things that matter. When it all proves to be too much, It’s Kind of A Funny Story teaches us to pause and take things one by one, living in—and for—the moment. 

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