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It’s Kind of a Funny Story (A Novel)
by Ned Vizzini
Miramax, $16.95
Funny Story

I’ve been trying to read more young adult and middle reader fiction lately and the results have been impressive. I’ve come across some wonderful books. It’s Kind of a Funny Story is another in the list of interesting reads. To come totally clean on this matter, I’ve gotten LOTS of recommendations from Rachel at the Little Book House. But now that she’s gotten my attention I’m finding more and more good things. This is one book she suggested to me.

This is a richly told story from the point of view of a young man who is under immense pressures. Just remember what adolescence was like and then turn up the volume. If you want to climb inside the mind of a teenager with the purpose of understanding a generation, this might be the book for you. But CAUTION is advised for the tender reader. The language is rough at times, the dialogue is layered with terms and expressions that would send you to a dictionary, if one existed. The people are real. Your kids may just love it! You’ll probably squirm. Craig Gilner’s life spirals down from the pressures to get into a good school. He has problems: suicidal, anorexic, depression. It’s a wild ride, and at times kinada funny. But the depth of the character development is impressive. His chats with Dr. Minerva (psychiatrist) reveal the typical tell-just-enough-to-answer-the-question style that most kids use. But we have the added vantage point of being inside the head that the doctor is trying to “shrink.”

Brace yourself. Vizzini writes from personal experience and writes it well. I’m especially pleased with his use of imagery to help the character evolve. Again, I repeat, this is NOT a story for the faint of heart.

Did I caution you enough? I don’t usually worry about language for adults, but I know some parents let kids read above their level and I’m not sure an advanced nine year old needs to read this book. But let the parent read it as a way to begin a dialogue before their child enters this minefield of teen angst.

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