Review of Hyperbole and a Half
Allie Brosh’s hysterical blog, Hyperbole and a Half, has been one of my favorites for years. Her stories, comprised of carefully combined words and pictures, would bring me to tears, I would laugh so hard. Her book, subtitled Unfortunate Situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happened, is no disappointment. While reading the book on a plane, I had to try my hardest not to disturb my seatmate.
Brosh’s book includes some classic stories from her blog, such as The Simple Dog (starring her probably mentally challenged canine), The God of Cake, and The Party (wherein little Allie begs her mother to let Allie attend a party while heavily sedated), and adds in a handful of never-before-read stories, which are just as side-achingly funny.
Then there are the more sobering stories. After regaling her large audience with funny tales for a few years, Brosh fell suddenly silent . There were no more new blog entries and this book, set to be published in September of 2012, didn’t appear on shelves that month. Everyone wondered where she went, and a few months later, she reappeared with a post entitled, Depression, Part 1, about her continued struggles with mental illness. While Brosh relayed her story with her usual comedic skill, there was a lot of startling, sobering, unfunny parts of this story. It was possible that Brosh’s audience would have shied away from this sudden change, but what happened instead was a reinforcement of dedicated fans’ support, and the gaining of a lot of new readers. Brosh’s book includes a continuation of the depression story, which explains that while she’s better. she’s still not cured, and probably never will be. Telling a different kind of story was a risk for Brosh, and one well worth taking.
I think the best part about Hyperbole and a Half is that it feels fresh when you’re reading it. Her new stories are devoured and her “old” stories are looked forward to eagerly. The book reads quickly and is a study on the (mostly) fantastic absurdity of life. I think I speak for all of Brosh’s fans when I say, Keep on keeping on, Allie.
(It’s hard to capture Brosh’s greatest quotes, since many of them are in picture form. I’ll try, but buy her book, too.)
“Hey! What are you doing?”
“Playing a game.”
“‘What’s Wrong With Me?’ It’s like an Easter egg hunt for things that make me feel weird.”
…For a little while, I actually feel grown-up and responsible.I strut around with my head held high, looking the other responsible people in the eye with that knowing glance that says, I understand. I’m responsible now, too. Just look at my groceries.
I kept eating out of a combination of spite and stubbornness. No one could tell me not to eat and entire cake- not my mom, not Santa, not God- no one.