Knowing that the author has gone through most things described in this book makes you feel more relaxed when reading it. You know that you're not 'crazy' if you read and think...'I felt that' or even, 'I'm going through that'. Vizzini as an author makes you feel comfortable whilst reading this book, I never once felt uncomfortable whilst reading the tragic stories of what happened to some of the characters.
Let's talk about the front cover...
Even from this delightful art you can see the book is going to have a sense of confusion to it, a lot of routes and a lot of guidance.
Weirdly, the book itself is like a diary, the way it feels, the way it looks and how thick the book is, even though it is only a short novel. This for me created a way to relate to Vizzini. It felt like it was my story and I was re-reading it.
Craig, the main character admitted himself into mental hospital because he felt he wanted to commit suicide. Only does he realise when he gets there that maybe what he feels isn't nearly as bad as some of the other patients. He feels like his problems aren't worthy of been treated. Only later does he realise he was so wrong and that the help he got was in fact the best thing that could have happened to him.
With having constant pressure of his Dad and too much cotton wool wrapped around him by his mum he feels there is no way out. As Craig aces his way into an Executive Prep school he feels he has to keep up his standards constantly, never letting his guard down. It becomes too much and he faces many problems.
For me, the book shares two things, humour and sadness. Humour because well most of them are crazy and have many problems and the contrast between Craig and the other characters can at points in the book make you laugh. Sadness because there are some very touching stories which you may or may not relate to. But Vizzini tells us these stories in such ways where we can't help but take pity on a fictional character. But maybe they aren't fictional characters, maybe Vizzini just created different names for the people who he shared those 5 days with. Maybe this is real. And that's why I created such compassion for these characters...
Even though it is an intense book it is definitely still aimed for older teens. The book has romance, confusion and adventure. It is definitely one of those books that you could read over and over again still having the same emotion at the end which is a sense of freedom and happiness even though the book is filled with sadness and despair.
My three favourite quotes from the book. These are things that could inspire you, relate to you and encourage you in a good way:
"Its so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That's above and beyond everything else, and it's not a mental complaint-it's a physical thing, like it's physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out. They don't come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people's words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet."
"Things to do today:1) Breathe in.
2) Breathe out."
"People are screwed up in this world. I'd rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode."