It's Kind of a Funny Story
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Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That's when things start to get crazy.
At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he's just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig 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, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, 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. For a novel about depression, it's definitely a funny story.
that?” “Absolutely.” “You’ve been coming here for a while.” Dr. Minerva always has such amazing outfits. It’s not that she’s particularly sexy or beautiful; she just carves herself out well. Today she has a red sweater and red lipstick that is exactly the same red. It’s as if she went to the paint store to match them up. “I want to not have to come here.” “Well, you’re in a process. How’re you doing?” This is her prompt question. The shrinks always have one prompt question. I’ve had ones
sideways, thumb crooked up. “I’m Bobby,” he says. His sweatshirt has Marvin the Martian on it and says WORLD DOMINATOR. “Craig.” I stand up. He nods, and his Adam’s apple, which has some extra gray whiskers on it, bobs. “You ready for the grand tour?” twenty Bobby leads me into the bright hall with his odd gait. “Everybody’s in the dining room right now.” He gestures as we go down the sideways hall, the one that branches off of the one I entered. I look left— there’s the dining room,
their latest yacht, because they’re all yuppies with no respect. …” “C’mon,” Bobby taps me. “Is his name Humble?” “Yeah. He’s from Bensonhurst.” Bensonhurst is a particularly retro section of Brooklyn, an Italian and Jewish neighborhood where a girl can walk down the street and have a car full of guys cruise up to her: Hey baby, you wanna ride? “Where are you from?” I ask. “Sheepshead Bay.” That’s another old-time Brooklyn ‘hood. Russian. All these parts are far out. “I’m from here,” I say.
“Okay.” I let her. She kicks me under the table. “How’re you feeling?” she whispers. “Not good.” She nods. Sarah knows what this means. It means she’ll see me on the couch tonight, tossing and turning and sweating as Mom brings me warm milk. It means she’ll see me watching TV, but not really watching, just staring and not laughing, as I don’t do my homework. It means she’ll see me sinking and failing. She reacts well to this. She does more schoolwork and has more fun. She doesn’t want to end up
. . until the end of the year at least, I think.” “I’ll handle it,” I say. “I know you will. We’ll help.” “Dinner, get ready for dinner!” President Armelio walks toward us. “Craig and his family, dinner is almost here!” “How’ve you been eating?” Mom asks as I stretch my legs. “I have been. That’s good.” “It’s wonderful, Craig.” “Okay, so I’m leaving the DVD here with you.” Dad hands it to me. “And I’m going to be back to watch it when you’re done with dinner. When will that be?” “Seven is