Well, it was definitely down to the wire, but I have accomplished my goal of 25 books this year. I stayed up a little later than I probably should have the night before last (considering how early I had to be up yesterday morning) finishing the last book of the year, Ned Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story. Heidi picked this book up for me in late October because she thought it sounded like something I might like. Not surprisingly, she was right.
It's Kind of a Funny Story tells the story of Craig Gilner, a 15 year-old guy from Brooklyn who is, not to put too fine a point on it, kind of messed up. He's depressed and way too hard on himself and ends up attempting suicide - only he calls the suicide hotline before he actually goes through with it. On the advice of the suicide hotline counselor, he goes to the local ER and checks himself into a the hospital's psychiatric wing.
A young adult novel, It's Kind of a Funny Story is a pretty fast read and overall quite enjoyable. The major arc of the book is watching Craig change, realizing that he's not the only one in the world that's screwed up and actually, many are in much more dire straits that he is. I think that's one of the funny parts of adolescence - the fact that no matter who you are or how great you teenage experience was, we all felt a little bit isolated. I remember thinking that there was no one on Earth who could understand what I was going through as a teenager (that is to say, the normal process of growing up and figuring out who you are.) That was compounded by the fact that pretty much everyone around me was doing the same thing. For Craig, this glimpse at others' realities provided him with a valuable tool to fight his own depression and anxiety.
I have to give Ned Vizinni credit - it's hard to write a character like Craig and make him both realistic and likable. Most teenage protagonists of books like this come off as very Holden Caulfield-ish - whiny, self-absorbed and completely unsympathetic. Craig was at times all of these things, but ultimately, I rooted for him because his character was very "everyman" or rather "every broody teenager." I really enjoyed watching his transformation. Everyone's screwed up - we just have different ways of showing it.
A good novel that is an easy read. It was a nice way to round out my 25 book challenge. I don't know that I'll do this on the blog next year - the book posts seem to be the least read - but who knows, maybe I will keep on blogging the books I read but just not in this form. We'll see what 2011 brings.