It's Kind of a Funny Story Summary & Study Guide

Ned Vizzini
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It's Kind of a Funny Story Summary & Study Guide Description

It's Kind of a Funny Story Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini.

It's Kind of a Funny Story is a coming-of-age novel for young adults. Loosely based on the personal experience of author Ned Vizzini, it follows the story of fifteen-year-old Craig Gilner, whose depression and decision to end his life lands him in the adult psychiatric unit of a Brooklyn hospital. There he meets a diverse group of fellow patients and is able to confront the source of his anxiety.

The reader first meets Craig Ginter as a freshman at Executive Pre-Professional High School. The school is one of the most prestigious in Manhattan. Although Craig studied obsessively for months before the entrance exam -- and achieved a perfect score on it -- he has been letting his school work slide since the day he was accepted. He has descended into a depression which he reveals to his family but not to his friends. It doesn't help that he must watch his best friend Aaron date Nia, the girl Craig also likes. Craig's parents are supportive of him and have sought help from a number of sources, including Dr. Barney, who prescribed an anti-depressant, and Dr. Minerva, the latest in a long string of therapists. So far, however, Craig has found little relief from his problems, which include what he calls Tentacles that hold him back, Cycling that causes his mind to race uncontrollably, and a lack of Anchors to hold onto.

As he hopes for a Shift that will enable him to be happy again, Craig sinks further into despair and decides to end his life by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. However, on the night he plans to do it, he suddenly feels his heart beating through every part of his body and decides he wants to live. A call to the suicide hotline ends with the suggestion that he seek help at the nearest emergency room, which he does. After assessing his condition, the hospital psychologist recommends that he stay a few days on 6 North, the adult psychiatric unit. It's is the only option available while the adolescent unit is being renovated. His parents agree, and Craig is admitted.

On the unit, Craig meets a diverse group of fellow patients, some adult and some teens like himself. He is particularly drawn to Noelle, a girl about his own age, who has disfigured herself by cutting her face. As his five day stay proceeds, Craig begins to eat normally again and feel more hopeful as he sees people whose lives are far worse than his. In an art therapy class, he begins drawing maps, a practice he enjoyed as a child, and at the suggestion of a fellow patient, he draws the outlinie of a head around them and turns them into brain maps. Eventually, the maps become an Anchor for him and a way to understand his own problems and the lives of his new friends on the unit.

By the time the book concludes, Craig has developed a romantic relationship with Noelle. The relationship gives him a sense of confidence he has never felt before. He reassesses his relationships with Aaron and Nia after seeing things in a different light. He knows that his future is in art rather than the high-pressure high school he worked so hard to get into, and he arranges to transfer to a different school. When he is released from the hospital, he realizes that there are many things he looks forward to doing, but the most important is simply living.

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