Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book Review: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Ninth grader Craig Gilner is at his wit’s end. It all started in eighth grade when he studied day and night working on getting accepted to Manhattan‘s Executive Pre-Professional High School. This high school was supposed to be his ticket to getting a good job and succeeding in life. Now that he is in ninth grade, he feels like his life is slipping away. He has trouble eating anything more than yogurt and mostly does not sleep. So one night he checks himself into the emergency room because he is considering committing suicide.

It is in the mental hospital that he enters after the emergency room that Craig begins to accept himself as he is. This is also where many of the funniest parts of the book happen. It’s Kind of a Funny Story is more upbeat than Julie Halpern’s Get Well Soon. And while both It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Thirteen Reason’s Why are both about teen depression, Funny Story is focused on recovery and less about the past.

I found this books to be a funny and even though it is long at 444 pages, it is a very fast read.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

How heartbreaking it is to be Clay Jensen. Clay, a junior in high school, comes home from school one day to find a package addressed to him propped up against the front steps. Inside are 13 cassette tapes each marked with their own number. Clay cannot believe it when he pops one into the old stereo in the garage and he hears the voice of his dead classmate Hannah Baker. Hannah was his crush and his maybe first love. She also committed suicide two weeks prior to this day. The package also contains a map of the town that Clay follows as he walks around town experiencing Hannah’s story. In Hannah’s own voice she tells about the events and people that contributed to her up to her decision to end her life.

Thirteen Reasons Why captures the way people really talk, and to some extent, the way people behave in high school. While I found some parts near the end of the story to be overly dramatic, I found this to be a really thought provoking book. If you do decide to read it I highly encourage you to have a discussion with a friend or an adult you trust about suicide.