To Go: 73
21. Water For Elephants — Sara Gruen
22. The Borrowers — Mary Norton
23. Very Valentine — Adriana Trigiani
24. Eat, Pray, Love — Elizabeth Gilbert
25. Something Borrowed — Emily Giffin
26. Divine Evil — Nora Roberts
27. It’s Kind of A Funny Story — Ned Vizzini
Overachiever Craig Gilner feels like nothing he does is ever enough. Though he worked his hardest to get into a super-exclusive Manhattan high school, and is achieving a 93% average, he classes himself amongst the “average.” The pressure he places on himself gradually pushes him to his breaking point, and he almost commits suicide.
His suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbours include “alpha dog” Humble, recovering garbage-head Bobby, and Noelle, a girl with self-inflicted scars on her face. During his six-day stay, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his overwhelming anxiety.
Though the overarching topic of the story was depression, it wasn’t a depressing read at all; in fact, it was uplifting. Craig was a funny and realistic narrator, who had me rooting for him throughout the book; all I wanted was for him to get better, and I rejoiced when he conquered his eating, sleeping, and anxiety issues. (Spoilers!)
What I found interesting was how the book hinted at a deeper issue, which was never really explicitly stated: the pressure on high school kids to be extraordinary in school. Though Craig’s situation was extreme — an ultra-exclusive high school where a 93% average made you a dunce — and he projected a little too much (doing poorly in the ninth grade will most likely have no influence on your ability to get into a good university), his struggle did, in some ways, represent that which high school students go through. Even from grade nine, you’re encouraged to start considering where you want to go in life — a decision far too complex to be made at that tender an age.
At any rate, the book was raw and real, but kept light by Vizzini’s knack for humour. It was a really great read, and informative for those of us who have never been depressed and can’t fully understand what it’s like to go through something like that. I’d definitely recommend it.
Next book: Red Riding Hood — Sarah Blakley-Cartwright