# of Pages: 444
Source: Purchased Copy, 2nd & Charles
- “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.”
- “I'm done with those; regrets are an excuse for people who have failed.”
- “Life can't be cured, but it can be managed.”
- “Some of the most profound truths about us are things that we stop saying in the middle.”
- “Sometimes I just think depression's one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed. Because there's so much stuff out there that you have to do something to deal with it.”
Goodreads Summary/Blurb: "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.
Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness."
A refreshing perspective on mental illness and those it plagues, Ned Vizzini easily captures the experience of those sent to reside within the halls of a psychiatric facility. He uses the story of Craig Gilner as the forefront of an ambitious teenager suffering from depression. It is through his experience that readers begin to gain access to the idea that mental illness is more complex and is far more widespread than previously thought. It does not discriminate against race, age, class, sexuality, gender, etc.
What was most captivating about this novel was its clarity in the creation of the main character as well as the environment of the psychiatric hospital. I was quite nervous about sharing this information, but from a reader that has spent time in a psychiatric facility I can personally say that Vizzini has captured the daily ins and outs of such experiences. From the group activities to dining to group therapy, Vizzini provides the reader with the perfect opportunity to spend and experience a few days within the facility as is permitted through Craig's eyes. What is even more unique about the development of this story is that Craig feels so realistic. It is not often that we experience characters that emulate us as "real" human beings. He was not the stereotypical juvenile delinquent that came from a broken home that needed psychiatric assistance as a result of his past. He came from a stable household, was successful in school, and had seemingly ambitious goals. It was this sense of normality that made him such a likable character and reiterated to the reader that mental illness does not discriminate.
I know that most individuals felt as though the novel was incomplete/it did not satisfy them and there was no resolution; however, it illustrates the principle that mental illness has no definite resolution. After leaving a psychiatric hospital it does not mean you are cured. It means that you now have the necessary tools to deal with daily struggles associated with life. The fact that Craig is released from the psychiatric hospital does not guarantee a perfect recovery; however, giving up, not fighting, or death are no longer options. It is a path that takes time, motivation, and an extreme amount of courage, but Craig best describes this in his final commentary in the book when he states:
"“I’m not better, you know. The weight hasn’t left my head. I feel how easily I could fall back into it, lie down and not eat, waste my time and curse wasting my time, look at my homework and freak out and go and chill at Aaron’s, look at Nia and be jealous again, take the subway home and hope that it has an accident, go and get my bike and head to the Brooklyn Bridge. All of that is still there. The only thing is, it’s not an option now. It’s just… a possibility, like it’s a possibility that I could turn to dust in the next instant and be disseminated throughout the universe as an omniscient consciousness. It’s not a very likely possibility.”
R.I.P to such a wonderful author that gave me a very beautiful insight to my own internal struggle and battle. Thank you for allowing me to believe and feel as though I am not alone.
Rating: 5/5 Stars