“The events in these stories are real. Some names have been changed so I don’t get yelled at.” – Ned Vizzini
Want to read an authentic life story of a teen told in funny and dorky way? Then this is the book for you.
This book is composed of the author’s compiled stories, divided into five parts, that includes the highlights of his high school life while living with his family in New York. He shared funny and controversial moments that ranges from the summers that he spent preparing for his entrance test and exams, how he threw up on his first date, the summer camps that he attended, ran out of money on Prom Night, his first experiences on smoking and drinking, his “almost Cancun” experience and also his relationship with his family. This book showed his curiosity growing up. It’s a roller coaster ride as the author mixed stories that are hilarious, weird, heart-warming and sometimes the combination of each. Some parts are really funny that I always have to remind myself that I am reading an autobiography.
Ned had been writing essays for the New York Press and his stint at the New York Times Magazine allowed him to be noticed by a book publisher called Free Spirit. They offered him to have his works be published. On an interview, Ned admitted that he was hit with depression going through high school and by writing he was able to overcome it. Since then, he has been featured to different magazines, spoke at schools and invited to radio and TV stations.
The thing that I like about this book is how it was sincerely written. I was easily drawn in to the book because of the way that it was written, in a conversational way, and the author provided a really good voice in his stories making it not hard to connect. I felt that, despite not being there, his observations were really reflective of the things that he experienced. The footnotes somewhat annoyed me when I started reading the book because they could just be added to the sentences but I was getting deeper, I was able to get used to it and even looked forward to those.
One of the reasons why I also like this book is because I see my high school life having a lot of similarities with his. I easy identified myself to him. He presented a believable picture of how teens view the people around them and their environment. It was not hard to relate to the stories of the author. I put a lot of pressure to myself to become an achiever. I was very competitive to all the things connected school which to this days I don’t have no regret of doing since all the recognition that I got all helped me where I am now. Reading this book evoked nostalgic memories of my teen life.
Before I read this book, I didn’t know that Ned Vizzini is already dead (he committed suicide). It’s just sad because in the book Ned talks about the future and his family. I learned that at some point, he had to check himself in to a psychiatric hospital because of his struggles with severe clinical depression (where his other book, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, was partially based from). I may not know him personally but I know that he’s life had been short but fun. Ned lived his life out loud.
5 stars out of 5.
Author: Ned Vizzini
Part of a Series: Standalone
Release Year: August 2002
Publisher: Turtleback Books
No. of Pages: 279 pages