Page Number: 444
Release Date: April 1, 2006
“A humorous account of a New York City teenager’s battle with depression and his time spent in a psychiatric hospital…The book was inspired by Vizzini’s own brief hospitalization for depression in November 2004.”– Goodreads.com
I have picked up this book countless times at my local library over the past few years. I read the blurb, skim the first page, read the little description of the author, put it back, and then repeat the same process the next time I venture into the young adult section. I don’t know why this process has become a cycle, or why it hasn’t resulted in me actually checking out the book until very recently. Sometimes it didn’t really sound all that appealing to me, and other times I just wasn’t in the mood to read about this particular subject. But that is all behind us now, because I have finally read it!
To be honest, the first half of the book was kind of boring and slow for me. I didn’t really start getting more interested in the story until he was checked into the psychiatric hospital and began to meet a whole bunch of complex characters. From then on I couldn’t stop turning the pages- I was completely hooked. The satisfying ending was also a big plus, since in comparison most of the story was rather depressing. And I should probably mention that this book gets extra bonus points for the sprinkling of Star Trek references it contained.
Craig, the main character and narrator of the novel, was very easy to relate to, at least for me. Part of why he had depression was because of the increasing pressure that came with attending a prestigious high school. His classes were rigorous and he had mountains of homework to do each night. He would come home feeling hopeless because he would never be the best- there was always going to be someone with better grades, with more money, with a more impressive resume. And in the competitive society we live in, that better person would end up getting a great job in the future or be accepted into an amazing college. Craig didn’t see why he should even try to improve if he was never going to get ahead of those who were better than he was. Now, I definitely do not feel the crushing hopelessness that Craig feels in regard to academics, but I totally see where he is coming from. I attend a normal public high school, and even still I sometimes question if doing mountains of homework for hours each night is really worth it. Even though I don’t have depression and I never have in the past, I still could relate to Craig in small ways.
Overall, I did really like this book, however the slowness of the first half of the story sort of reduced my enthusiasm for it. It’s not my favorite book ever, but it was definitely worth reading.
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys.
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes!