Ned Vizzini grew up in Brooklyn, New York City. He went to Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan and wrote articles about his life there—how he passed the exam, got in the school where most of the smartest and most intelligent students go to study, and how he did survive that thing—and him being a dork. Also, at an early age, he wrote for the New York Press and has an essay published by the New York Time Magazine. These essays are combined in his first book, Teen Angst? Naaaah…. His other books are Be More Chill and It’s Kind of a Funny Story (now a motion picture starring Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, and Zack Galifianikis). He has an upcoming book to be published this year, The Other Normals.
Teen Angst? Naaah…
As mentioned above, this book is a collection of Vizzini’s essay, a quasi-autobiography of the author. Most of the essays are about his life as a teen and a student—from Junior High to his Senior Year at Stuyvesant High School. All of them are funny and witty. I can’t believe I missed this author when I was a teenager! It’s full of honesty that most of us didn’t care to admit when we’re young. Twenty-nine (29) essays there gave us an idea how Ned Vizzini grew up and how things around him influenced his writing. It all started because of his backpack—a bright teal, super dorky bag from L.L. Bean. Anyway, he started writing his essays on a sheet of paper full of curses and he suddenly felt okay after writing his feelings down.
It’s an easy read, really. I can’t help but relate to some of high school struggles Vizzini encountered. I can’t also help think that this guy is a total dork! Well, a cool dork. Uh, a good-looking cool dork. Anyway, you should grab this book and I’m sure you’ll definitely enjoy this :)
Be More Chill
In other countries, like America, there’s always a social struggle for dorks, nerds, and geeks. I’m not from America—never been there even—but this social problem is portrayed in different movies and TV series. They are made fun by jocks and queen bees, like they’re aliens; laughed at and insulted. No wonder why Jeremy Heere, your typical high school geek, is unable to socialize and talk to girls, especially to this girl he always look at every single day, Christine. He’s weirder than that. Why? He keeps a humiliation sheet where all kinds of insult are tallied. Insults like Snotty Comment, Mortification Event, Refusal to Repeat a Joke, Refusal to Return a Verbal Greeting/Head Nod, etc. Those insults ended when he heard about this thing called “Squip,” a pill-size supercomputer that will make you… cool. Sounds tempting and interesting, no? Jeremy wants it. He wanted to be noticed by Christine, to rub elbows with the hottest girls in school, to join high school cool crowd, parties, etc. He was transformed from your typical geek to the coolest guy in school. He didn’t know, there’s a thing at stake with this. Dark secret about Squip is about to be revealed and there are consequences.
This book is a fun read, but I find the thing about Squip sort-of ridiculous. I mean, for real? I know it’s fiction, but it’s ridiculous! Maybe because this is one of the geeks are dreaming about? Well, I understand that it’s hard to be a geek/dork/nerd somehow. Anyway, I did enjoy the book. It’s still the typical high school life story though sex, drugs, and alcohol in the story is too much for my taste. It’s my least favorite among Ned Vizzini books.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
I first learned about this was when the film adaptation leaked earlier last year, and because it’s Emma Roberts and Zack Galifianakis, I think the film is promising. But, it wasn’t, really. It just turned out okay. Nothing great. I love the concept of the story. They say it’s the male version of Girl, Interrupted. Since I read and love books about depression, suicide, and other mental illnesses, I think I’ll enjoy this one—don’t judge, I really like them, I mean, I went to a mental hospital before and enjoyed it. No, I wasn’t the patient. I’m the nurse!
So, it’s about this kid named Craig Gilner. He isn’t exactly your typical geek or nerd like the Vizzini’s other books, he’s smart, but a very ambitious one. He worked hard to be part of this Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School (see? It’s like Stuyvesant—oh, really, Tricia. Do you really have to point out the obvious? Heh. Sorry!) because of his perspective that he would succeed in life if he get into a good high school to get into a good college to land a great job. If not, he’ll be one of the homeless people. Well, yeah, he did get into that High School and became friends with Aaron and this girl he likes, Nia. It sucks that those two are dating. Pressure came in school and it’s unbearable, also with the presence of Nia and Aaron snogging, and also, smoking pot. He couldn’t take it until he stopped sleeping and eating, start vomiting, and decided to kill himself. Good thing he checked himself into a mental facility and there he met different kinds of people. He realized that his problems are a lot simple compared to these people’s.
“I work. And I think about work, and I freak out about work, and I think about how much I think about work, and I freak out about how much I think about how much I think about work, and I think about how freaked out I get about how much I think about how much I think about work.”
This is my favorite book among Vizzini’s book, mainly because it’s touching and very personal—Ned Vizzini checked himself in a mental hospital in 2004. Anyway, I appreciated the beauty of this book more because the movie sucked. Another also is that I think this book will help depressed teenagers to realize things will be better. I can’t explain further, it’s better if you read this book yourself. I enjoyed this one and I think you will, too. I even gave a copy to my cousins for them to enjoy (well, because they’re dorks and studying in Pisay/UPD, so they might understand the pressure Craig Gilner experienced).
The Other Normals
This book is to be published this year and I’m excited for it!