'It's Kind of a Funny Story' Author Ned Vizzini Dead at 32
The author of four novels for young adults, Vizzini drew on his own battle with depression to craft his books, which focused on teens struggling with mental health issues. At 18, the Brooklyn, N.Y. native who studied at New York City's prestigious Stuyvesant High School published an essay on the topic, “Teen Angst? Naaaah….: A Quasi-Autobiography,” in the New York Times Magazine.
"I was totally blown away by his writing," Vizzini's editor Alessandra Balzer wrote in a post on his publisher Balzer + Bray's Facebook page Friday. "It just dazzled with wit and intelligence and warmth--his was the most authentic and daring teen boy voice I'd ever read. Ned loved to write about nerdy outsiders who were finding their way to manhood, and he did it better than anyone."
Vizzini's 2007 novel about teen depression and over-medication “It’s Kind of a Funny Story" is based in part on his own hospitalization for depression in 2004. The novel met with rave reviews and was later adapted into a film starring Zach Galifinakis and Emma Roberts in 2010.
"It’s Kind of a Funny Story" offered a hopeful message to teens: That young people can instead look to peers, not pills, for consolation in hard times.
Throughout his career, Vizzini sought to spread that message of hope, speaking candidly of his own illness with student groups across the country.
"He learned to cope with the darkness," Balzer wrote on Facebook. "I felt like I saw him grow up, in a way, and I was so proud of him.
Vizzini leaves his wife, Sabra Embury; their son, Felix; his mother, Emma; father, James; sister, Eleanora; and brother, Daniel.
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