Feb 13, 2017
‘It’s Kind Of A Funny Story’ Novelist Ned Vizzini Dead At 32
Writer Ned Vizzini, who began writing when he was a junior in high school — scratch that. Ned Vizzini, who was published in the New York Times Magazine when he was 17 and published his first novel, Be More Chill, at 23, committed suicide yesterday at age 32.
Vizzini struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts and spent a week in a psychiatric ward the same year Be More Chill came out. He wrote a semi-autobiographical book, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, about the experience, which was later turned into a movie starring Zach Galifianakis.
True fact: the night Vizzini called the suicide hotline, he couldn’t get through because the hotline was overflowing, so Vizzini was shunted over to a Good Samaritan group. Yr humble correspondent will refrain from a diatribe about mental health funding in America, mostly because you know exactly what it would contain.
Vizzini went on to author more young adult novels and branched out to work in television as well. Alessandra Balzer of HarperCollins, his publisher, released a statement today that probably says things better than anyone else is going to right now:
“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.”
Rest in peace.