Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh began as a blog/webcomic in 2009. If you're a fan of her blog, I have no idea why you're reading a review of the book. You'll be picking up a copy no matter what I say. If you're not, here's a quick test: Go to this link.
Did you find it funny? Or were you creeped out by her froggish MS Paint drawings and blond, party-hat hair? Because I can't lie: That is entirely what her book is.
It's a memoir from a woman in her 20s. She hasn't cured cancer, climbed Mount Everest while fighting a bear, or achieved any other accomplishments that society would find inspirational and uplifting. Instead, she has become famous for creating a blog with crude drawings and funny stories about her dogs, childhood, and battles with depression. You'll either love it or be completely confused.
Hyperbole and a Half: The Book is essentially Hyperbole and a Half: The Blog with about 50% more content. It's a quick, funny, and visceral read. If you've ever battled depression, or even sympathized with the idea that someone could be depressed, then you will love Allie Brosh. And not because her self-deprecating humor is hilarious (which it is), but because she makes it OK to laugh about it.
The first emotion that hits me when reading Brosh's stories is relief. I end up thinking, "Oh thank God. If she can be this open about her own life and find humor in what others would think were horrible situations, then it can't be so bad" and then I start laughing hysterically.
At one point in her memoir — between stories about eating an entire cake as a child and trying to determine if her "simple" dog is actually mentally challenged — she comes to the realization that she is suicidal and should probably ask for help. Her confession to her mother, that she doesn't so much want to kill herself but just become dead somehow, should be heartwrenching. And honestly it is, but mostly it's funny for just how ludicrous the entire situation becomes. In the process Brosh becomes more relatable and likable.
With the current publishing trend of books emerging from existing blogs, it can be hard to justify the cost of purchasing a copy (though really, isn't that why libraries exist?) but I feel that Hyperbole and a Half is worth it. There is just something about Brosh's gleefully absurd narrative style that I always find interesting, no matter how many times I read the same story.
If you'd like to take a look at Hyperbole and a Half, it is available in our Central Library's New & Notable collection. You can also put it on hold through regular Library checkout if you'd like to read Brosh's book at a more leisurely pace.
About the Author
Liesl Christman is the Digital Content Specialist for The Kansas City Public Library, managing content for the Library's blogs and social media accounts. She is an unabashed enthusiast of comic books, roller derby, and all things food.