Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Kind of a Funny Story

"Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life—which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job—Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does.  That’s when things start to get crazy.
At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he’s just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig 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, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. For a novel about depression, it’s definitely a funny story."  --- 
I just finished reading the book today and watching the movie after also today. :)) I think it is fitting that I finished both on the last day of the year because I think both the novel and the movie are telling us to just live. The protagonist in the story is Craig Gilner and he is clinically depressed so he checks himself in a psychiatric ward when he almost committed suicide. The character is very relatable, especially to teens and young adults like me. I guess the world has just evolved to put on a lot more pressure to us early on with so many choices and possibilities available. The novel also makes you wonder and reflect on your own life and look for your "tentacles" in your life that hinder your growth and your "anchors" that keep you sane in dealing with life in general.

The premise of the novel is also very promising. The author Ned Vizzini, having been confined to a mental institution for 5 days himself, presents the hospital like the real world. I mean, it lets us see different kinds of people, just on the extreme side. It helps us understand that everyone's different, and well, weird. And frankly, maybe that is good! It is what makes us normal - being weird, that is! :)) It would be a bore to live in a world full of well-functioning people who act the same way.

I recommend this book for further reflection, especially during the new year. :) Enjoy! :D

Quotes from the novel to think about:
"Life is a nightmare." - Dr. Minerva
"Time is a person-made concept." - Sarah Gilner
"Life's not about feeling better; it's about getting the job done." - Craig Gilner
"Here in the real world, all equals are created animal, but some more animal than others." - Humble
"Life is not cured; life is managed." - Dr. Mahmoud
"When you mess something up, you learn for the next time. It's when people compliment you that you're in trouble. That means they expect you to keep it up." - Craig Gilner
"Obstacles are those frightening things that appear when we take our mind off our goals." - poster
"Dreams are only dreams until you wake up and make them real." - poster
"People with mental illness contribute to our world." - poster
"Everybody has problems. Some people just hide their crap better than others." - Craig Gilner
"People are screwed up in this world. I'd rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ... you know ... ready to explode." - Craig Gilner
"When you say the truth, you get stronger." - Craig Gilner


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