It’s Kind of a Funny Story is about a 15-year old boy, Craig, who is admitted into an adult psychiatric ward after he calls a suicide hotline and discusses his intentions of jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. Ned Vizzini wrote It’s Kind of a Funny Story after his own stay in a psych ward which shows; Vizzini is able to honestly capture what it’s like being a young kid coping with depression.
“Its so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That’s above and beyond everything else, and it’s not a mental complaint-it’s a physical thing, like it’s physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don’t come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people’s words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.”
Besides being chronically depressed, Craig has a lot of anxiety stemming from his highly competitive high school as well as his best friend’s relationship with a girl he has feeling for. This becomes a dangerous when Craig goes off his Zoloft prescription and begins contemplating suicide. His phone call to the hotline leads him to the hospital where he voluntarily admits himself into the psych ward and meets a cast of characters that includes a pretty girl with self mutilation scars on her face and a roommate who won’t leave the room. In the hospital Craig begins to focus on his long pushed aside brain/map art and gains a better understanding of what he needs to be happy. It’s a great look at what it’s like to be a teenager, especially one whose brain chemistry has failed him.
“No,” mom says, looking at me in the eyes. “What’s a triumph is that you woke up this morning and decided to LIVE. THAT’S a triumph. that’s what you did today.”