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October 8, 2010

It's Kind of A Funny Story

Posted by Dana

In today's post, regular contributor Denise Neary shares her review of the new movie It's Kind of a Funny Story, based on the book of the same name.  Consider reading the book and then doing an outing with your book club to catch the movie.

FunnyStory.jpgLet’s hear it for a movie true to the book it is based on!

Sometimes, I dread watching a movie based on a book I love.  Only once or twice (To Kill A Mockingbird, the version of Little Women featuring Wynonna Rider and Susan Sarandon are exceptions that prove the rule) have I loved both.

When books I love are seriously changed in the movie version, I want to stand up in the theatre and explain. Scarlett O’Hara has more than one child.  The whole point of Circle of Friends is that the fat girl rejects the jock.   In Handmaid’s Tale, the reader is never supposed to know the main character’s name. I won’t even get  started on My Sister’s Keeper.

I am delighted to announce I have a new book to movie favorite.

I loved It’s Kind of a Funny Story, based on the novel by Ned Vizzini. Our mother/daughter book club read the book when the girls just were starting high school, and first encountering the pressures that transition poses.   School, parents, competition, the future, friends, romance.

So what was not to like about a funny, quirky young man who succumbed to that pressure by checking himself into a mental hospital?  The book gave us an opportunity for one of our best conversations about the transition from childhood to young adulthood.  More important, it made us think and laugh.

The movie continues that tradition.,0,2180035.story

It is such a hopeful movie---and while watching it, I couldn’t help but think of the news reports we see each day about bullied teens resorting to suicide.  This might be too much to hope for a movie to accomplish----but it is a dramatic example of a different way to go.  

You don’t have to check in to a mental hospital to learn what Craig learns----that being different is okay, that it made him who he was.   And that he needed to look inside, not out, to figure out what made him happy.  Not a bad lesson for the cost of a movie ticket!

-- Denise Neary, Regular Contributor