I saw this book online when I was looking for something entirely different (Star Trek). Normally, I read science fiction and fantasy and many books like this one above just pass me right by.
There was something different about this particular book, though. Everything about it – from the cover, the snappy title of It’s Kind of a Funny Story, and the authors name, Ned Vizzini – seemed to be calling out my name. Where normally I would’ve just kept looking for that Star Trek novel, I decided to take a closer look at this ‘mysterious’ book with the city map in someone’s head on the cover.
That’s when I found out that this was the book that that movie about Zach Galifianakis in a mental hospital was based off. I’d never seen the movie, and heard only dismal things about it, yet I decided to ignore them all.
I read the little preview on the back of book to discover this was a book about a teenager who suffers from depression and goes to a mental hospital as a result. What intrigued me more was the fact that the author, Mr. Ned Vizzini, also suffered from depression and he had actually spent some time in a mental hospital – just weeks before he wrote this novel – this was also in the book’s description.
I made a mental note of the cover, the title and the author and set out to find this book.
There are two major bookstores in Saskatoon (along with a lot of smaller ones that are all affiliated with Indigo/Chapters). I checked with them first, but their computer system told the lady at the counter who told me that none of the their stores in the whole city had any copies of this book, but they could order one. I told her to hold off on that because I had one other bookstore to check out.
And there it was, tucked away in a corner, behind the newest John Green book. I almost missed it. It was the only copy they had. Possibly the only copy for sale at the moment in the entire city.
With my new purchase, I returned home and started to read. I have ton say, this book was hilarious. It was charming. It was endearing. It was sweet. It was everything. And that’s saying a lot because I usually don’t read stuff like this.
The first line of the book is: “It’s hard to talk when you want to kill yourself”
That line pretty much sets up the rest of the book, except it’s all done in a humourous context. I definitely agree with the review on the book that says: “A book about depression that’s not the least bit depressing.”
About halfway through the book – because I was loving it so much – I decided I would look up the author to see what else he has written, so that I can look out for it next time I’m at a bookstore.
That’s when my world flipped upside down.
I’m wondering now if this wasn’t the reason I was drawn to this book so much.
It turns out that Mr. Ned Vizzini committed suicide. He jumped off a building on December 19, 2013.
I cannot explain that feeling I got when I read that. I’m pretty sure my whole body got covered in goosebumps. It made the book about a depressed teenager who wanted to jump off a bridge a little less funny, but it was still worth the read.
A friend told me that maybe I was meant to find this book and read it.
And I can’t help but think that I was.
Anyway, that’s my ‘funny story’. If you want a charming read that will make you laugh but also make you think, pick up It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Don’t watch the movie. The book is much better.
RIP Ned Vizzini. I’ve said a prayer for your wife and son.
Thanks for reading,