“Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.”
This book gives a realistic look at mental illness. The main character, Craig, is relatable and still trying to figure out his mental state. Although he is a teenager, I think even adults can relate to his thoughts and feelings. Dealing with mental illness can be complex and the author does a great job of showcasing that. Like Craig, sometimes we feel fine due to medication, but once we stop taking that medication, we crash.
The book’s main plot centers on Craig being committed to the hospital’s adult psych ward. There, we are introduced to all sorts of characters, who are struggling with different mental health issues. It truly shows that everyone is facing their own battle. And mental Illnesses doesn’t look the same for everyone. On the outside, Craig seemed like an average teenager. But inside, he was crumbling. Some people are tied together with a smile.
There were many funny moments, which is nice to have in a book that deals with such a heavy topic. It was good to see Craig bonding with other patients. He learned a lot about their lives and struggles. But, there was also the notion that what happens in inpatient, should stay in inpatient.
There are many messages through the book. One being that you can’t truly understand mental health issues, even if you deal with them yourself. No two mental illnesses look the same. There will be people who think they have you figured out, but they don’t, and this was the case for Craig.
“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”
You never need to explain yourself to others, and that was something Craig struggled with in the story. His friends were toxic, and don’t even get me started on Nina, his crush. Craig had a lot of personal development in the book, and learned that it is better to be friendless than to be friends with all the wrong people.
One of my favorite things about this book was that it mentions “finding your anchor”. It is so important for us to find something that fills us with joy. That one things that tethers us to life. It shouldn’t be a person, but something that we enjoy. And the book made a point to talk about how we all should look for some type of anchor.
As you can tell, the book hits on some heavy topics. Obviously, mental health is the main focus in the book but there is talk about self harm, somewhat slut shaming, and the underlying mention of sexual abuse. If these are subjects you are sensitive to, please be aware before you pick this book up.
Overall, this is one of my favorite books. I connect with it, and love the view that all we can do is try to manage our lives. And to live the best life for ourselves. Please like and share this post, and follow my blog.
Until The Next Chapter,