Genre: contemporary, young adult, teen
Rating: 4/5 stars
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.
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.
I've been putting this book of for quite a long time for the very simple reason that I don't like the cover. Well I'm actually sort of okay with the cover, but it's the spine more specifically that I think is really ugly. My friend recently watched the movie based on this book and she was really enthusiastic about it, so I decided to give the book a go. I wasn't instantly blown away by this book, but it definitely grew on me and at some point, when I should have gone to bed, I realised I just couldn't put it down.
The book very realistically depicts depression. Having experienced it myself there were many things in this book I could relate to. Vizzini had a great way of explaining some of the things you experience while being depressed and he does so very vividly. Especially the 'Tentacles' and 'Anchors' he describes very well in his book and I personally had never looked at them that way. Tentacles being all the different things you have to do to succeed at certain things and make you feel overwelmed and anchors being simple tasks that you know you can complete and feel satisfied with once they are finished.
I liked how the book showed that you don't have to have had a tragic childhood or come from a horrible family to get depressed, which is something many people still don't know.
Although I was hoping the main character Craig would experience a major shift in his life and not be depressed anymore, that's sadly not how it works in real life. Still I was left with a hint that things might get better and it was enough for me to still enjoy the book.
In the hospital Craig meets a girl and there is a tiny bit of romance in the book, but the book definitely focuses on Craig's personal journey. So if you are looking for a romantic read, this might not be the book for you. The other patients in the hospital are all interesting characters and Vizzini did a great job of making me care about them.
All in all I really enjoyed this book and shows very well what it's like to deal with depression.