October's Books to Film

funny storyfunny story

Now a Focus Features film, teen novelist Ned Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story is a "whimsical coming-of-age story".

Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids and soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable. One night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. For a novel about depression, it's definitely a funny story.

Based on the graphic novel** by Posy Simmonds Tamara Drewe (trailer) is loosely inspired by Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd. It delightfully skewers modern mores and manners with great wit and understanding for the foibles of humanity.

At a bucolic writers' retreat run by Beth and Nicholas Hardiman, where Dr. Glen Larson, an American professor and struggling novelist, is staying. An ambitious young Tamara Drewe, mourning the loss of her mother, has returned to her family home nearby. A bookish girl not so long ago, Tamara is now a gossip columnist at a London paper and undeniably sexy. She quickly has every man in the vicinity falling at her feet. Meanwhile, long-suffering Beth sees to the needs of the writers while managing the farm, the household, and the many affairs of her husband, a best-selling detective novelist.

** = starred reviews