Book Review: Hyperbole and a Half

By Abbey Knupp

Without hyperbolizing, Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, and Other Things that Happened easily ranks as one of the funniest books I have ever read. Using intentionally crude illustrations drawn in Paintbrush, Allie Brosh colorfully depicts humorous escapades she experienced while growing up. The tales range from topics such as ravenous geese to eating an entire birthday cake and everything in between.

The book is based on Brosh’s blog of the same name, which has been popularized through memes featuring some of Brosh’s illustrations. The stories on the blog also retell amusing childhood anecdotes, coupled with the challenges faced upon becoming an adult. Some of the most notable illustrations include Brosh’s hilarious depiction of the “Alot,” a furry, gramatically-incorrect mythical creature, an improved medical pain chart, and the drawing of herself exclaiming, “Clean ALL the things!”

Aside from the humor, Brosh tackles deeper obstacles that she has faced in her adulthood, such as depression and the discovery of her true identity. Through the use of the paint illustrations and her charming voice, Brosh is able to discuss the issues in a way that can be easily relatable and learned from. The way Brosh handles her struggles is presented in a way that remains lighthearted, despite the gravity of the issues, which allows readers to find inspiration to overcome similar situations in their lives.

Since the beginning, fans have related to Brosh’s portrayal of depression. When Brosh stopped posting to her blog for over a year from 2011 to 2012, fans were extremely worried about their beloved author. When she returned from her hiatus, she posted a long comic titled “Depression Part Two,” which gave fans a look into her recent struggles and explained her absence. The post had over one million views within the first day of appearing online.

The book includes some favorite comics from her blog and some never before seen online. For anyone looking for a good laugh or anyone who needs to know that they are not alone, look no further; one can always find a friend in Brosh’s stories. Note: Despite the childlike nature of the illustrations, the book may not be suitable for children due to foul language.

Brosh’s blog can be found online at http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com and her book can be purchased online or in bookstores.

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