First Impression Friday is hosted by J.W. Martin.
First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
I have come across First Impression Friday through Krsitin Kraves Books. It piqued my interest so I decided to do my own. For this update, I am going to preview my current read, Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story, another renowned young adult fiction which was adapted into the big scream. I have never read of Vizzini’s works before nor have I watched the book’s movie adaptation.
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 college to get 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, created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.
Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story is just one of three young adult fictions that I have included in my 2019 Top 20 Reading List. I have an aversion towards young adult fiction for many a reason but this doesn’t preclude me from immersing into its narratives every now and then. Such is the case for It’s Kind of a Funny Story and the two other young adult fiction books in the aforementioned list.
When I included the novel in my 2019 Top 20 Reading List, I barely had any iota on what the book is about except that it deals with a young man who is dealing with suicidal thoughts. I have never encountered Ned Vizzini previously as well and it caught me by surprise when I learned that he also took his own life. It always saddens me whenever I hear news people who pass away because of depression.
The novel relates the story of Craig Gilner who tells the story on his own perspective. Craig’s persistence and hard work made him qualify into the daunting and cavernous halls of the Executive Pre-Professional High School. He has high hopes of the future but upon entering high school, different kind of internal pressures started plaguing him and taking a toll on him.
As always, the first person point of view has proven itself an effective device in giving the readers an intimate peek of the character’s inner motivations. This, to some levels, make readers create a connection with the characters they are reading. I am already seeing parallels between the stories of Craig and The Perks of Being a Wallflower’s Charlie. Craig’s voice, however, is devoid of the emotional amateurishness that Charlie possessed.
It is quite challenging not to make any connection with Craig. Although his mind is labyrinthine, it is not difficult relating to his experiences and his thoughts. We’ve all once plodded the same path that Craig had – those internal conflicts, those deflations in self-esteem, those self-doubts, those moments we second guess ourselves. We all get it. What varies, however, is our understanding of mental health.
It is on the aspect of beating the stigma surrounding mental health that I am pinning my hopes on the book. I hope that it won’t treat mental health issues generically. So far, Vizzini has done a commendable job of doing that. I hope Vizzini consistently pulled this through until the novel’s conclusion. Depression and mental health are, after all, important subjects that are very dear to my heart.
I am approaching the novel with a feeling of ambivalence. The last young adult fiction I read, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, gave me such high hopes at the start but when I started digging deeper, cracks showed, hampering me from totally appreciating the very fabric upon which the novel was painted on. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to It’s a Kind of a Funny Story with a different level of vigor. I hope it lives up to the hype.
Happy weekend reading everyone!