Title: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
Author: Allie Brosh
Release date: October 29, 2013
Genre: Graphic memoir
Source: Personal collection
Rating: 5 out of 5
You know how sometimes, you hear a book is coming out and you get so excited and all the reviewers who were able to get advance copies love it and and you know you’re going to love it too, to the extent that when you finally read the book you can’t help but feel a little disappointed?
Hyperbole and a Half is not one of those books. It is easily one of the best books I’ve read all year.
Brosh’s first book is a funny, eccentric, endearing graphic memoir–really, a collection of illustrated essays–that captures the large and small moments of her life with humor and aplomb.
In April 2010, I was visiting a friend in San Francisco when my then-roommate sent me an urgent email to read this immediately: The Alot is Better Than You at Everything. I did, and I showed it to my friend, and then we spent the rest of the day reading the rest of the site. You might say we liked Allie Brosh ALOT. And we weren’t alone–soon we saw entire memes cropping up around Brosh’s work (and, unfortunately, using her artwork without permission).
Then, out of nowhere, the posts stopped coming. Eighteen months later, we found out why–and the world re-fell in love with Brosh.
So I was thrilled to buy the book finally, and thrilled to read it, and thrilled to make Jack read it, too, and thrilled to make the nonfiction book club at One More Page read it as well. This is the kind of book that I feel comfortable recommending to anyone–people of all ages and tastes–because there is something in here for everyone. Your mother-in-law will love the cake story; your dad will defend Simple Dog; your sister will find resonance and reassurance in Brosh’s struggles with depression.
Several of the graphic essays were already published on Brosh’s hugely popular website by the same name, but in the book they are expanded upon. Other essays were new to me.
Brosh examines depression, productivity, creativity, and the never-ending process of growing up with grace and humor. In the midst of these serious topics, she intersperses hilarious stories, too, like tales of the Simple Dog or the time her house was invaded by a goose. Brosh strikes the perfect balance between the serious and the hilarious. Hyperbole and a Half never felt like overload—like the jokes were the star of the show. Brosh is consistently funny, but more importantly she is an insightful, smart, and perceptive writer who uses her own story to illustrate larger points about people. The human condition, if you will.
Yeah. Read it. And then tell all your friends–you won’t be able to help it.
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