Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Hyperbole and a Half," by Allie Brosh

My friend M. V. and her daughter L. both really enjoyed (although with reservations) the very quirky “Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened” (Simon & Schuster, 2013), by Allie Brosh, so I had to take a look at it. The book, based on Brosh's autobiographical/confessional blog of the same name, consists of cartoonlike drawings of the author, her dogs, a very few other characters, and some scenes in and near her house, with a bit of text on each page. The author is represented by a sort of odd blob with bugged eyes, a wide mouth, a yellow protrusion from the back of her head, a red garment, and stick-like arms out of a child’s drawing. Curiously, the other human characters and even the author’s two dogs are drawn in much more detail, although still cartoonlike. The book is divided into -- what? Chapters? Stories? Vignettes? Each one -- well, almost each one -- is funny, eccentric, terse, and often sad. The author either is, or pretends to be, extremely candid about her own problems and failings. One major strand in the book is stories about the dogs. Another -- one that I relate to -- is stories about the author’s fighting her tendency to procrastinate. The most painful “stories” are about her bout(s) of depression. This is clearly a very original book, one that is hard to classify. I think it requires a particular -- perhaps acquired -- taste, or a particular sense of humor, to truly appreciate it. In other words, if you pick it up, you will likely either love it or think “?????!!!!!” I went back and forth between those two reactions.


  1. Thanks for reading this, Steph. My reaction was almost completely "love". I found it laugh out loud funny in many parts. My reservations were more in recommending something as very funny, when it is also describes very serious depression. Laura first discovered Allie's blog, which she loved and so did I. The book is for the most part a compilation of her blog posts, I think.


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