"Hyperbole and a Half" by Allie Brosh

Drawings and self-depreciation!


I probably stumbled upon Allie Brosh like everyone else, which is, uh, I can't remember. Do you remember? You probably don't, either, do you? In some fantastic way, I stumbled upon this fellow Blogger user.

We both have that in common: Publishers, come find me! I don't make drawings, though.

What, you think my writing is mediocre? Pooh. No book for me, then. So, I guess I'll continue telling you about this "Hyperbole and a Half" book, instead.

I'm not sure who Allie Brosh is...and I didn't really get a true sense of her after reading these pieces...but I can relate to this one fact: she's a mess. She does not shy away from this, and I welcome that kind of self-realization in people. And honesty. She's also not overly offensive. She writes (and draws) without putting other people in her life down, and doesn't rely on other people's faults to make a point. She merely relies on herself.

Her drawings are decidedly Microsoft Paint, and she does it well. Middle School students who procrastinate on school computers by playing on Microsoft Paint, please take note.

This fast read of over 300 pages is a mixture of words and pictures. She uses the images to help tell her stories, but instead of moving her stories forward, they give you a deeper insight of the moment she is writing about. Some of those moments had me laughing hysterically when she writes about her dogs. Sometimes illustrations work better than words. I guess you could call this a collection of graphic essays.

Two of the best pieces are a actually a pair that focus on her struggle with depression. I have read them twice now: once on her website and the other in the book. I'm glad she included them because mental illness is still a taboo in this society, and although she doesn't handle the subject gently, it she shows herself powering through. It's not fun. It's not easy. She even doesn't seem to know why she is powering through at some points, but the two pieces shine a sublime, yet melancholy, light on the ridiculousness that is depression because for some people, it comes out of nowhere and they struggle to make sense of it.