|Ned Vizzini at Toronto International Film Festival, 9/11/10 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Ned Vizzini ~ April 4, 1981 – December 19, 2013
If you’ve enjoyed reading young adult (YA) books or if you work in the field of behavioral health, then there is a good chance you know of Ned Vizzini and his books that deal with depression, bullying, and making connections in the real world. For the younger set his first children’s novel House of Secrets was published April 2013.
Ned Vizzini, who had battled mental illness for most of his life, committed suicide on Thursday, December 19th and the Associated Press reported that his brother, Daniel, confirmed his struggle with depression had “taken a turn for the worse” in recent weeks.
It’s Kind Of A Funny Story – first a book, then a movie
It was 2006 when Ned wrote his novel It’s Kind Of A Funny Story. The novel is based on his own experience of being briefly hospitalized for depression in 2004. In 2010 a comedy-drama film version was released starring Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, and Viola Davis.
If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.
Film critic Richard Roeper wrote in his review published in the Chicago Sun-Times:
‘Crazy kids- Well, that part is accurate, though not politically correct. There’s a whole lotta crazy going on here. Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini (which was inspired by Vizzini’s own experiences), “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” is a sometimes self-consciously eccentric but sincere portrayal of a suicidal teenager who spends a week in a psych ward. It’s a Cliff’s Notes, teen version, of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”‘
Remembering Ned Vizzini who gave others hope…
Perhaps you have heard of the National Alliance of Mental Health’s (NAMI) StrengthofUs website. It is an online community designed to empower and inspire young adults who are impacted by mental health issues. You can learn more about Ned by reading an interview conducted by the StrengthofUs staff member. In this interview Ned speaks candidly about depression, suicide and writing.
Ned spoke at over 200 schools, universities and libraries, the subject was almost always about mental health and writing. Entertainment Weekly reported:
Alessandra Balzer, co-publisher of the HarperCollins imprint Balzer + Bray — which published both The Other Normals and House of Secrets — has released a statement about Vizzini’s death:
“I was devastated to learn of Ned Vizzini’s death today. Ned was a preternatural talent — a brilliant, insightful writer and a dazzling storyteller who was one of the leading pioneers of YA literature as we know it. I have had the great privilege of working with Ned on his novels since his debut, Be More Chill, which he wrote when he was still in college. He created characters who were outsiders trying to find their way, and he did it with such humor and empathy. He was also incredibly kind and he adored his family and friends. At his signings, countless kids would approach him to say that he changed their lives — he gave them hope. And he was always generous to his fans. Ned’s books will be read and beloved for generations to come. This is a tragic loss for all who knew him and were inspired by his work.”
So today we will stop and remember Ned and be grateful for the words he shared with everyone, starting back in 1998 when he penned an essay for The New York Times Magazine – Advice; Teen Angst? Nah! Ned was 17 and a junior in high school.
He had only just begun…