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I expect this book to be a book about the self-discovery and recovery of a depressed teen and I’m thinking it will end with him new friends and a lesson learned. Quarter Point: Craig, the main character, is with Aaron, his best friend. Craig, Aaron, Nia (Aaron’s girlfriend) and other friends are at Aaron’s house, watching TV and smoking. These are the group of kids in every high school that do drugs regularly and basically do nothing for the rest of the day. Craig is small and gangly with dark short hair.
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He’s nerd-like and he seems to be the kind of person who is shy around people who aren’t his friends and family. He’s a little sarcastic and seems to be in the shadow of his friend Aaron. So far, the conflict is that Craig is depressed. He won’t sleep, when he eats, he pukes, and when he tries to do his homework, and he gets too caught up in the stress that he never gets around to it. Craig goes to the Executive Pre-Professional High School, which is an extremely prestigious school. The homework gets overwhelming and that’s the reason why he’s miserable.
Midway Point: Craig decided to commit suicide, but before he even tried anything, he called the Suicide Hotline. They told him that thoughts of suicide were considered a medical emergency. When he came to the hospital, they brought him to the Adult Psychiatric unit and said he had to stay until his “baseline is established. ” He met all the people in the ward, including Jennifer/Charles, the transvestite sex addict, Noelle, who cut her face with scissors, and Craig’s roommate, Muqtada, a crazy, old Egyptian man who never leaves bed.
Nia, Aaron’s girlfriend is another important character because Craig is so obviously intrigued and attracted to her. She wasn’t the main or only reason he is depressed, but it is a contributing factor. Nia thinks she’s why he wanted to commit suicide, even though he’s told her time and time again that that wasn’t true, which makes her seem selfish and self-centered. It’s kind of like she’s making his crisis about her. She’s very promiscuous and isn’t very true to Aaron. She doesn’t really seem to care about anybody else’s problems or feelings.
So far, I like how the storyline is progressing gradually, so you can get used to the many characters being introduced. It gives you time to peg their different personality traits, so you can get a feel for who they are. The people in the ward are good for Craig’s healing because they don’t have a problem hiding their problems and that’s exactly what he needs. Even though his father isn’t a bad guy, he obviously didn’t teach Craig to show his feelings because he doesn’t seem to reveal how he’s feeling outside of therapy sessions.
Three Quarter Point: I think that he will find his release in drawing and art, and that he will realize that Pre-Professional school is what is causing all the damage. He seems to have met people who encourage him and that will help him recover. He needs the support of people similar to him, people who know how he’s feeling. I’ve noticed that Ned Vizzini’s writing helps me imagine that I’m the one living Craig’s life. I feel like I’m living in the mental ward and that I’m trying to find a way to subside my depression. It feels as if I’m xperiencing what Craig is or at least like I’m living in his mind, hearing his thoughts on all that happens around him. This book reminds me of Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky. These books are similar to me because they touch upon the story of young teens, struggling to find where they belong, who they love and what they want to do with their lives. They don’t seem like the happiest teens alive and they have the same sense of humor. I consider this book to be under the genre Young Adult Drama or Dark Humor.
Book’s End: Craig figures out that Executive Pre-Professional is too much for him and that he enjoys art as an outlet. He will be attending an art school instead. Instead of going out with a badly influential person like Nia, he’s decided to date Noelle, the girl he met in the ward. The book ends with Aaron leaving the ward with his family and taking a walk in the park by himself. He is finally free to take a minute to think for himself without worrying or being upset or feeling stuck in a rut.
The theme of this book is depression and having the strength to admit it, deal with it, and take care of it. The lesson is that if I ever hit rock bottom, I have to find the solution by discovering the problem. You can’t solve anything without it. You need support and patience from others and that is what will help you heal. This book has actually become my favorite book. It has emotion, love, humor, and truth, anything you could ever want or need in a book. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend because even though it’s not that difficult to read, it’s got a lot of heart.