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it's kind of a funny story It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini | Rating: ★★★★★

“I don’t know how I can be so ambitious and so lazy at the same time.”

Rewind to four or five years ago, when I was struggling with depression of my own and had just started writing book reviews as an outlet and a way to grow in my writing skills. This was one of the first books I felt connected to and it was one of the first books ever I reviewed. For me, It’s Kind of a Funny Story was the ultimate young adult novel that managed to capture the struggling youths can go through when it comes to school and the depression that comes along unexpectedly that we don’t always understand.

Looking back, now that Ned Vizzini is gone, the story becomes more and more real and treasured for me. Although he lost his battle with depression, the story remains and will continue to help the many teenagers and adults who struggle with mental illness because it captures it all in a raw and real way that many authors can’t manage to voice in their career.

This is one of those novels that should be read by everyone — even if you find yourself unable to relate to it. With a strong narration and many moments that can be both uncomfortable and oddly comforting (there’s just something lovely about reading a story and realizing that there are people who think like you), this story becomes something valuable.

There were parts of the novel I wasn’t all that fond of, I’ll admit that, but with every part I wasn’t fond of there was something else that made up for it. I related to the way main character Craig’s mind worked in both his depressive haze and as he reached a certain level of clarity. I liked his strength in which he seeked help. And I especially liked the frank way everything was dealt with but still remained humorous.

Afterall, even in our darkest moments — we still need to have the ability to laugh it off.

When Craig checks himself in for mental help we find ourselves rooting for him and grow attached to his routine, his mind and the easy going way he falls into friendships during his brief time at Sixth North. There’s something each of them have in common with one another and it forms an instant connection, drawing them all into the same almost family. And even though some people may find his budding romance in the hospital to be something that wasn’t needed for the story, the happiness and comfort he finds in it is something that genuinely brings him strength.

(Although I do wish we had learned more about Noelle outside of her relationship with Craig. Her story would have been brilliant to explore, really.)

It is in the hospital that he discovers (rediscovers) his love of art and ultimately leads to the road of his recovery. Although it was obvious he had a long way to go, it was the start of something very promising in the moment he is nearing release and decides to not only continue taking his medicine and continue getting help, he decides to leave behind the school which puts more pressure on him. He also decides to have his art be the outlet he so desperately needs in life.

Overall, the novel is very beautifully written and handled very well. It doesn’t sugar coat life and I think it could genuinely help other kids through their own issues in life.

And at this time I’d like to say something about Ned Vizzini.

Though he lost his struggle with depression, his work will continue to help others help themselves and even though we all wish his outcome had been different, I am grateful he was here and alive and wrote what he did.

He will be greatly missed.

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