Monday, November 9, 2015

Hyperbole and a Half

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened
By Allie Brosh
Touchstone Books 2013.  369 pgs. Nonfiction.

In 2009, Allie Brosh launched a blog with a rant about her neighbors’ annoying music. By the end of the year, she had begun illustrating her entries using simplistic drawings she created in Microsoft Paint, and Hyperbole and a Half was born. Brosh’s hilarious essays and illustrations focus on her childhood, her dogs, her resistance to being an adult, and her struggles with depression. Even if you’ve never heard of Brosh, you’re likely familiar with her illustrations, particularly the “Clean all the things!” or “X all the Y!” meme. You may also have heard of the Alot, the fictional creature Brosh imagines to calm her rage whenever someone misspells “a lot.”

When I first discovered Brosh, I spent three days reading her entire blog, laughing so hard I cried. Brosh’s first book, which shares her blog's name, includes several of her most loved entries, as well as ten entirely new essays. I didn’t love the most of the new essays quite as much as my old favorites, but they still had me in tears of laughter. In particular, Brosh’s new essay “Motivation” spoke to my procrastinating soul on a profound level. A few other favorites:

• The Party (my all-time favorite)
• The God of Cake
• This is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult
• The Simple Dog
• The Parrot
• Depression Parts 1 and 2

Brosh’s book is a great introduction to her work, highlighting both her humor and her surprising emotional depth. Be aware that although the content is generally clean, Hyperbole and a Half frequently uses strong language. I’m already anxious for Brosh’s next book, Solutions and Other Problems, to hit the shelves in October 2016.


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