Friday, October 29, 2010

Kind of Funny

Several days ago, a commenter asked if I was going to see the movie "It's Kind of a Funny Story."  Which is kind of a funny story itself.  Well, not really, but if you did not know already, the movie is based on a YA novel by Ned Vizzini about his experience with hospitalization for depression.  To answer the other question you are now asking: no, I have not read the book, either.  When I was in the process of writing Get Well Soon (my own story of hospitalization), I sent a portion of the book out to two different publishers at two different times before the book was complete.  One publisher (and I kid you not that I don't remember who the people were; I am horrid with names and feel like it makes me look snobby, when really I think it's one of the few glitches in my brain.  I believe both were publishers that I was introduced to at an ALA conference.) told me that they wanted to see Get Well Soon as a straight novel, not as a novel in letters.  That didn't happen.  The other publisher, someone at Hyperion, said that they already had a mental hospital book on an upcoming list, and I should read it.  Voila-- It's Kind of a Funny Story ended up in my mailbox.

I did start the book.  But I didn't get very far.  You see, I sort of have a revulsion to books about people who check themselves into mental hospitals.  Girl, Interrupted annoys me so much in its self-pity, look at me, poor sad rich girl vibe.  I haven't read it in years, so maybe it's not that bad.  Perhaps when I did read it, I was in an angry phase about my own being THROWN into a hospital.  Get Well Soon is very much about Anna's, my, lack of control in life, so it's very hard for me to read about someone young but of age deciding to hit the mental hospital trail.  And that's what Funny Story is about.  A few pages in, I decided it wasn't my scene and I was going to get all worked up, so I stopped. 

Sonya Sones and I had a conversation about this, about whether or not we like reading other stories about hospitalization (she, of course, being the brilliant author of Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy).  Sonya said she did not like reading other stories about this subject, and she has very strong opinions about the way people trivialize and misunderstand mental illness.  In fact, while writing The Sequel, I often get scared that I'm going to piss off or disappoint Sonya.  I wouldn't want to do that.

But I still haven't answered the question!  Will I see the movie?  I don't know.  Matt is a fan of Zach Galifianakis, since he's on "Bored to Death."  But not that big a fan.  And something about that kid's face in the commercials screams the Mac guy, who I can't stand.  I'm going to say that I probably will not see the film and will definitely not see it in the theater.  If I am on an airplane and they show it, then, sure, I'll watch.  But do they even show films on airplanes anymore?  Not on my flights.  Anyway, has anyone seen the movie?  Do you think Sonya would approve?  Would I?


Katie W. said...

I voted "other" on the poll for TV. I really think you should consider Yo Gabba Gabba. Opal LOVES it and it is seriously funny. If you don't take my advice, than my second choice is Sesame Street, but you have to make sure Elmo is in it. :) K

Brian James said...

I get the same way about not wanting to read something that I think resembles too much what I'm working on. I don't want to influence me in any way.

About It's Kind of a Funny Story, well it's kind of a funny story here too. I met Ned during a conference way back when. My second book Tomorrow Maybe and his first book Be More Chill had come out and we were both the same panel. I got to know him a little bit, actually he was mine and David Levithan's teammate for a spirited bout of the whimsical party game ''Celebrity' in which our team destroyed the competition.

I haven't read it, but I believe It's Kind of a Funny Story documents his time shortly after that conference. I've always meant to read it given that personal insight. I last saw him in 2006 at NYPL when It's Kind of a Funny Story and my book Dirty Liar were both NYPL Books for the Teenage. We chatted for a bit.. He's genuinely a good guy.

Julie H said...

Katie, please see my explanation in Tuesday's post about how I'm looking beyond the everyday for Romy's first show! I'm sure we'll hit Yo Gabba Gabba soon enough :)

Brian, I hope it didn't sound like I was knocking Ned. It's more like when you are so connected to a certain subject-- like if you really like a band and someone writes a book about them. Do you want to read the book, or will it annoy you because it's not your personal experience with the band. For me, my hospitalization was traumatic enough that I wrote a book about it. Do I want to hear about other people who had the freedom to check themselves in and out? Not really. But that's just me. I'm sure other people are very interested in those experiences. Obviously, if a movie was made based on his book.

Brian James said...

It didn't sound like that at all...I just I'd my story about kind of a funny story.

I completely understand where you're coming from. I totally agree. It's why I've never read "Perks of Being A Wallflower" because "Pure Sunshine" was always compared to it when it.

This is the very reason that for years, I read almost no YA. Now I just avoid anything that seems somewhat related to what I'm currently working on.