“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”

Title & Author: It’s kind of a funny story by Ned Vizzini.

Release Date & Publisher:  May 1st 2007, Hyperion. 


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 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.


Lets start off with the protagonist, Craig Gilner.

Craig is a 15 year old boy striving for over achievement, has a two parent household, an adorable little sister, few friends. The one thing that really stood out to me throughout this book was his character development. We watch Craig turn from a boy who earns with every fiber of his being to go to Executive Pre-professional, one of the best high schools in Manhattan. Craig studied night and day in order to study for the entry test, “I made that test my bitch”. He didn’t think about the aftermath, what would happen once he actually got into the school. As the pressure starts to build it takes a toll on Craig, he wasn’t as smart as everyone in the school who were naturally smart. Craig befriended Aaron, “Aaron was a real friend; I guess I’d call him my best friend”. Aaron invited Craig to an acceptance party type thing, where they smoked pot and Aaron hooked up with Nia, a girl who Aaron had a crush on. When the stress buckled Craig all he had wanted to do was go to Aaron’s, smoke pot and “chill”, this evidently made Craig’s grades drop. Craig started to fail, Craig started to lose it.

This carries the important message that there is a lot of pressure on teenagers today to succeed.

Craig riles himself up so much that the only way to escape the tentacles (all of the bad things that are weighing him down) of his life is to throw himself off of Brooklyn bridge, instead we find him checking into a psychiatric ward in a local hospital.

We follow Craig on this roller coaster of this hospital, the people he meets. He finds himself belonging somewhere, he is away from the tentacles and never wants to return to the world outside where he will be faced with his probblems once again.,

The characters in this book were so vibrant but also held a darker energy to them, it was all so real. Each of the people in the psychiatric ward had experienced different things and had different reasons as to why they were there. I thought this aspect of the book was so interesting.

Lets talk about Nia , Aaron and Noelle.

Nia suffered with Manic depression or otherwise known as bipolar, we find this out about a quarter of the way through the book when Craig opens up to her about his clinical depression.

Aaron also has problems in which do not really get voiced in the book, only when Nia mentions it or when Aaron visits Craig in the ward.

I kind of felt like the diagnosis’ of these characters were rather unnecessary, and although it does voice how many teenagers do suffer with depression or other problems along those lines I just don’t think the book needed it.

I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about Nia or Aaron, their relationship was key throughout the book. I feel like Aaron wasn’t a real friend to Craig, especially when Aaron rings the ward and takes the piss out if how Craig is in the psychiatric ward. I felt like Nia used Craig, when her and Aaron split she immediately went to Craig and started making out with him, taking advantage of how she knew that Craig liked her.

“People are screwed up in this world. I’d rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.”

Noelle. I loved Noelle, she was very straightforward and blunt. Noelle was a girl that Craig met in the ward, she had been admitted due to her cutting her face with a pair of scissors due to how she had been suffering from sexual abuse and how people used her because she was pretty. Craig and Noelle’s relationship was electric, she was so much better for him than Nia’s.

I found it rather difficult to get into this book, it took me about a week and a half to read it because I didn’t get hooked until about half way through…
Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.


I’m not enitrely sure whether I will watch the movie however it came out in January 2011 and stars Keir Gilchrist as Craig and Emma Roberts as Noelle.


So many of you reading this may know about the tragedy behind this book.The author, Ned Vizzini was admitted into a psychiatric himself for five days (the same amount of time as Craig) he had suffered with depression for a great deal of his life and in December 2013 he committed suicide leaving behind his wife, his son and the rest of his life.

There are no words that hold my shock, anger and sadness for Ned Vizzini and his family.

More about Vizzini’s suicide is here;

I gave this book a three out of five stars, I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anybody who would like a good read.



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