It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny Story Study Guide

Published in 2006, Ned Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story confronts weighty issues—in particular, teen depression and suicide—through an unexpected combination of dark comedy and abiding hope. The novel is set in the present day, and is narrated by Craig Gilner, an incisive, imaginative, troubled fifteen year-old who resembles Vizzini himself. The intersection of author and protagonist is completely intentional; Craig's high school, Executive Pre-Professional, is strongly modeled on Stuyvesant, the elite New York school that Vizzini himself attended.

As the narrative progresses, Craig feels increasingly overwhelmed by pressure to succeed. After briefly considering suicide, he decides to check into a local hospital and enters Six North, the area set aside for patients with psychological and psychiatric problems. Vizzini himself spent time in such a facility during his teenage years. But It's Kind of a Funny Story does more than simply tweak autobiographical experiences. Ultimately, It's Kind of a Funny Story conveys the message that admitting problems and accepting help from unlikely sources are necessary, productive measures—and that high schoolers should learn to face the world with both independence and optimism.

On the whole, It's Kind of a Funny Story garnered positive reviews. It also built off Vizzini's two other books—the nonfiction collection Teen Angst? Naaah and the satirical novel Be More Chill—while confronting some of the themes of alienation and insecurity that arose earlier in Vizzini's writing. In 2010, a film adaptation of It's Kind of a Funny Story was released, earning reviews that ranged from mixed to positive. Keir Gilchrist starred as Craig, while Zach Galifianakis, Viola Davis, and Emma Roberts played supporting roles.