Book Review: “Hyperbole and a Half” by Allie Brosh (4 Stars)

22 Dec

Full Title: “Hyperbole and a Half (unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happened)”

Words and drawings that artfully tug on your soul and your funnybone.

Brosh is renown for her ability to succinctly encapsulate the bottomless, murky depths of depression. All while keeping a snarky yet endearing tone intermixed with humorous anecdotes about growing up and dog care. This book is a breeze and I enjoyed it the whole way though. It’s a collection of some blog posts from her past, along with new material for old fans to look forward to.

The author tells her story through the use of crudely drawn cartoon panels. Her medium is a perfect match for the tone in which she weaves her stories. Each sharp, line bend or whimsical curve all seem to contribute to the message she delivers…be it a funny insight into life’s inconveniences or a profound introspection on self.

The colors are also well-chosen in this medium and help complement the story. Likewise, the poses of her characters, the expressions, the use of space—all perfectly capture the moods, ideas and emotions she conveys—in ways that words might fall short.

And even though her drawings may best be described as “crude caricatures” they really are not. They are very artful and complementary to her prose. Skillful too. It’s like the difference between listening to a technically proficient musician and one who is soulful. The drawings have real feeling.

I did feel like I wanted more expression from the author’s perspective on dealing with depression and other difficulties (mostly because she has a great way of laying these things out). Yet, in this way, the book is well-balanced by intermixing some laugh-out loud stories about incomprehensible and disobedient dogs and an unabashed goose-intruder.

I found this book hilarious and poignant.

On a side-note, I’ve heard this author interviewed twice on podcasts (Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy – episode #97 / Marc Maron’s WTF – episode #550). She is a great interview. Quite thoughtful and endearing. I recommend listening to the interviews as well. They were the impetus for picking up the book.

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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in Book Reviews


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