Funny Story author commits suicide

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 December, 2013, 5:49am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 December, 2013, 6:45am


Ned Vizzini, a popular young-adult author and television writer who wrote candidly and humorously about his struggles with depression, has committed suicide. He was 32.

Vizzini jumped off the roof of his parents' home in Brooklyn on Thursday, said his brother, Daniel Vizzini. New York City's medical examiner's office confirmed on Friday that Vizzini took his own life. Daniel Vizzini said his brother had battled mental illness for much of his life and had "taken a turn for the worse" in recent weeks.

Ned Vizzini's autobiographical novel It's Kind of a Funny Story was adapted into a film of the same name. A resident of Los Angeles in recent years, he was a prolific author and spoke around the country about mental health and the healing effects of writing. On his website, he recommended Andrew Solomon's The Noonday Demon and the Dalai Lama's The Art of Happiness to readers coping with depression.

"At his signings, countless kids would approach him to say that he changed their lives - he gave them hope," said his long-time publisher, Alessandra Balzer of Balzer + Bray.

Funny Story was written in just a few weeks and published in 2006. Set in New York City, and 85 per cent true according to Vizzini, it told of an ambitious but overworked high school student who considers jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge and ends up in a psychiatric ward.

"So why am I depressed?" asks narrator Craig Gilner. "That's the million-dollar question, baby, the Tootsie Roll question; not even the owl knows the answer to that one. I don't know either. All I know is the chronology."

The movie version was released in 2010 and starred Keir Gilchrist and Zach Galifianakis.

Vizzini's other books include Be More Chill and The Other Normals, both of which told of young people who feel like outsiders.