Hyperbole and a Half

Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh

  I must admit, it feels a little silly to write a review for Hyperbole and a Half, since if you’re online you’re probably familiar with Brosh’s fantastic weblog/comics.  And it’s not as if the world is lacking for reviews of this book.  But I have to write reviews of all the books I’ve read this year as a bit of mental discipline, and so write them I shall!  I am a woman of my word, even if no one but me knows I have made this pledge.  Also, I’ve been stuck on this review for several months and it’s led to a bit of a backlog.  So, allons-y!

Hyperbole and a Half is brilliant and hilarious and you should go and read it immediately.  That’s really all you need to know, but I suppose I”ll flesh this out a bit.  Her stories, illustrated with comics done in MS Paint, are funny and insightful and capture eternal truths about childhood, procrastination and dogs, but are so crazy that they barely seem like they can be true.  It’s difficult to explain why they are so funny–they just are.  To paraphrase something said before about John Hodgman, Brosh’s words and pictures are funnier than they have any right to be.

 

The book overall was a big hit with my family.  I had gotten it for my brother, for Christmas, and it quickly made it’s way around the family.  I read half of it there, but my brother selfishly wanted to keep his present, and so I had to purchase an entirely new copy when I got back.  My husband thought this was a poor investment since I read it so quickly, but it is almost infinitely re-readable.  Plus, it’s necessarily to have the book on hand to share the best stories with others, so they’ll know to buy the book, too.

In addition to the humorous–which seems an understatement–stories, are intensely personal stories about depression and anxiety.  Others online, including those who suffer from depression, have repeatedly said that Brosh’s accounts are some of the most accurate descriptions of depression they’ve ever seen.  I don’t suffer from depression, and fortunate in my mental health, so I can’t speak to that.  I can say, though, that more than almost anything else I’ve seen, this comic made me feel like I could understand what depression actually was.  It was a truly eye-opening account.

The fact is, Allie Brosh is an incredibly gifted storyteller and communicator, and one of the funniest people on the planet.  This review, and every other you’ll find online, are just ways to pad out the only review you really need, what I started out with: Hyperbole and a Half is brilliant and hilarious.  You should go read it.  Immediately.

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