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Bookreview: It's kind of a Funny Story - Ned Vizzini

Title: It's Kind of a Funny Story
Author: Ned Vizzini
ISBN: 9780786851973
© 2006 Ned Vizzini

Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life - which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety. 

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.

I came across this book in a bookswap-point and the title and description interested me enough to take the book home with me, despite having lots of other books to read. It took me quite a while to read it, but that was not due to lack of interest, just a question of preserving energy.

It's Kind of a Funny Story is indeed kind of a funny story, but not hilarious. The main character, Craig, has a sense of humor, a way of looking to the world, that is part of his problem as well as the solution. The people he meets in his five-day stay in the mental ward of a hospital are, according to me, the real people that save his life. They are painfully funny in their own messed-up way, because Ned Vizzini describes their madness in such a way it does become funny and sad at the same time.

The only thing that bothered me a bit is the constant use of slang. The words 'um', 'like', 'kinda', y'know'. Example: " 'Nah,' I was like." I get it, it's the way Craig speaks, but I just don't like it. Very personal opinion.

It is quite sad to know that the writer, Ned Vizinni, wrote this book soon after his own experience with a short stay on a mental-ward and that in the very end he himself did make the decision to end his own life. A promising writer with the gift to touch people's hearts and minds. It does seem to me such an ironic thing that many of the great writers and artists are the very ones with such intense feelings which they are ultimately unable to cope with themselves. It's kind of a very, very sad story.

I rate this book with a 7 out of 10.


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Over een maandje zal de verhalenbundel 23x Zwart Licht gelanceerd worden. Ik ben trots dat voor de derde maal een verhaal van mij gepubliceerd wordt via Godijn Publishing.

Mijn verhaal heet 'Engelenstem'. Een klein voorproefje om jullie interesse te wekken:

"Blanco. Ze staarde wezenloos voor zich uit. Alles was blanco. Ze had het gevoel niet echt te zijn. Even deed ze haar ogen dicht en probeerde ze zich te concentreren op haar lichaam. Ze werd zich gewaar van haar hartslag en ademhaling; ze moest wel echt zijn. Ze opende haar ogen en keek omhoog naar de strakblauwe lucht, die leek ook echt. Ze richtte haar blik vooruit en zag de zee. Het wateroppervlak was rustig, de golven kabbelden. In de verte voer een vrachtschip waarvan het leek alsof hij stillag. Ze werd zich ervan bewust dat ze in de vloedlijn stond en dat haar sneakers nat waren geworden, toch bleef ze staan. In haar rechterhand hield ze iets vast: een scherp toelopende metalen pin. Het zat onder het bloed, net als…


If dreams could be real
You'd live
We'd walk in the park, smiling
But spring's here again
And you're not

How far would you go

how far would you walk with me my friend
all the way through the swamp of sadness
where despair seeps into your veins
leaving your limbs as heavy as stone
how far would you walk with me my friend
how far would you walk with me my friend
all the way over the mountains of dread
where the fear claws at your feet
and the paths are as treacherous as thieves
how far would you walk with me my friend
how far would you walk with me my friend
all the way through the valley of pain
where the roads are as sharp as razors
and the rivers run with blood
how far would you walk with me my friend
how far would you walk with me my friend
All the way to the ends of the earth
where the emptiness is as vast
as the hole in my heart
how far would you walk with me my friend
how far would you go