Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's Kind of a Funny Story Review--Book Vs. Movie

Author: Ned Vizzini
Release date: April 2, 2006

Pages: 444

Publisher: Miramax

How I got it: Library
Like many smart, ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner seeks entry into Manhattans most prestigious school, Executive Pre-Professional High School. With single-minded determination, he works night and day to ace the entrance exam and gets in. Thats when everything starts to unravel. Once Craig starts his new school, he realizes hes just one of many brilliant kids, and he isn't even brilliant, hes average. As Craig starts getting so-so grades, he sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. He begins to have trouble eating, sleeping, and thinkingthats when he tells his parents hes depressed. He goes on medication and talks to therapists, but things keep getting worse, until one night Craig feels so low that he seriously considers suicide. 
But instead, Craig calls a hotline. The counselor tells him to get to the nearest hospital, and before he knows it, hes signed, sealed, and delivered into one of Brooklyns finest psychiatric units.Craigs new roommate is an Egyptian schoolteacher who refuses to get out of bed. His neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, and a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors.But somehow in this motley crew, Craig finds real friends and kindred spirits who give him strength. This is a remarkably moving and authentic picture of the physicality, the despair, and even the hilarity, of depression.
It's Kind of a Funny Story took a bit of wading through, but in the end I ended up really liking this one and what I was able to take away from it.

I expected IKoaFS to start out at the hospital, but instead it starts out with the main character, Craig, explaining how he got to be so depressed. Part of me appreciates the back-story, but most of me thought it dragged a bit. Not enough for me to consider putting it down, but enough for me to grumble, "move along already," under my breath.

Of course about 150 pages in it started to pick up, and by then I was hooked on Craig's voice and trying to figure out how and/or if he got "better". Plus there were quite a few other things to keep me reading, too. Like the quirky, hilarious, and sometimes deranged side characters. Bobby, Ebony, Armelio, Jimmy, and more all kept me smiling 'til the end.

Then of course there was the relationship between Noelle and Craig, which I absolutely loved. It felt really easy and natural without feeling too instantaneous. Noelle was amazingly smart, quirky (quirky books rock), and another character that kept me entertained.

While it may have had a slow start, It's Kind of a Funny Story proved to be a winner. Its underlying themes will, I think resonate with anyone who's ever been less than happy. Definitely one of the better books I've read this year.

Plot: FINALLY a good book with a cast of mentally ill people. YAY.
Characters: Craig was cool in that classic guy-narrator way, and I loved the side characters, especially Noelle.
Writing: Really good.
Ending: Also really good.
Mature content: Mentions of sex, swearing, drug use.
I'd groan if anyone tried to talk to strike up a conversation with me while I read this.
It's Kind of a Funny Story proved to be a really unique and touching book that I'd definitely recommend. I'll be interested to read Vizzini's other books. Also in seeing the movie.
Other reviews:
Adventures in YA Fiction
A Little Shelf of Heaven
Crunchings and Musings

Movie review:
The movie adaption of It's Kind of a Funny Story really surprised me, and I mean that in a good way. Where I think lots of the book's meaning and messages could've gotten lost and overshadowed, they kept them in tact, and I think the basic vibe from the book was there as well.

You know how I thought the beginning of the book was slow? Well the movie definitely isn't. Instead of starting from the beginning of Craig's journey the movie starts when Craig admits himself into the hospital and backtracks to information when you need to know it.

Zach Galifinakis--an actor I'd only seen in comedic roles--really rocked the role of Bobby, a character that got totally changed from the book and became a much larger role. I felt like instead of getting to know a group of interesting side characters, the movie focused mainly on Bobby. Sometimes this was okay, but I definitely wished that some other characters I'd enjoyed in the book got more screen time. Especially Noelle. Emma Roberts did a pretty good job playing the role, but we barely got to know her or why she was in the ward, and I thought her scars weren't visible enough. Keir Gilchrist (worst name EVER) did a good job with the character of Craig, though sometimes I felt like he made him a little too awkward.

The movie manages to keep things light but serious in the way of the book, and I definitely think Vizzini's novel was done justice with this adaption, though overall I do prefer the novel. I'd definitely recommend to see the movie, then read the book.


  1. I prefer the novel, too, but was also really impressed with the cast of the movie and the overall execution, though I felt it lost some of the book's emotional impact, or density. Keir Gilchrist is one of my favorites, and Emma Roberts as always. Zach Galifinakis definitely stole it in the greatest way.

  2. Ooh! I have had this book on my to-read list for ages and had no idea it was being made into a movie! I'll be sure to read the book first, hopefully soon!

  3. You have a very insightful review. :)

    Here's mine if you don't mind:

    Thanks and have a nice day! :)

  4. Read the book a few days ago. Started watching the movie 20 minutes ago and had to stop. They made so many changes including minute ones, like his high school name, the floor of the hospital he was on...things that makes me wonder what the point of that is !? I had to shut it off for now...maybe one day soon I'll finish it but for right now, in my eyes, it's doing a poor job of telling the story.

  5. Just finished reading this and have linked you review in mine on my blog as I agree a lot with what you have said (Hope you don't mind)


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