Friday, January 10, 2014

Review Me Twice: Teen Angst? Naaah...: A Quasi-Autobiography by Ned Vizzini

I read this book for my YA lit class as an undergraduate. I think most recent high school graduates should read it as a way of helping them deal with the transition from high school to either college or "the real world." The book isn't about that transition, but it reflects on Vizzini's high school experience in retrospect, and a lot of people don't stop to do that before moving on to the next stage of life. It can be interesting, enlightening, or just a nice way to let go of things.

Hindsight being 20/20, memory being imperfect, and the unreliable nature of narrators all lend themselves to the fact that Ned Vizzini seems to have had a TV sitcom high school experience. He went to a gifted school (maybe you've heard of Stuyvesant?) and had unique experiences mostly related to his writing, and stereotypical experiences dealing with alcohol and sex. But the way he tells the stories - whether embellished or misremembered or solid truth - is wonderful.

Vizzini had the gift of writing in such a way that makes you feel like you know the guy. Like he's an old friend you just haven't spoken to in a while. And that's what I think made him a great writer: identifiability (which I insist is totally a word now).

I read this book in the same YA literature class that Alex did.  This is the first time that I've read it since then and, honestly, I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't classify it as OMG IT'S THE BEST BOOK EVAR!  It was humorous and I really like how Vizzini's captured high school life.

Honestly, a lot of high school is exactly as he writes it, probably because he was in high school as he was writing these essays.  And considering how young he was at the time, the writing is incredibly impressive.  You realize that he was writing a lot of these for the NY magazine at just 15 or 16 years old, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

It's a good book to pick up and enjoy, and he is quite relateable, but it's not one I would necessarily put at the top of my to be read pile.

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