Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, ISBN 9781451666175
You may be familiar with the blog by the same name. Allie Brosh has been the author of this wildly popular, somewhat bizarre, award-winning blog since 2009 and in 2013 Brosh was named one of the fifty most influential creative figures in the world by Advertising Age. Also in November of 2013 the book was named an Amazon Book of the Month.
This book was actually anticipated by her followers, and based on the reviews, she delivered. Although some of the material can also be found in the blog, there is plenty of new material, too. Looking at the side of the book, you will find blocks of colored pages. Each of these colored blocks of pages represents a blog entry or essay. Because of the vast number of illustrations and the matter of the content, most people report reading this thick book in a matter of just a few hours. Many report they read it more than once, too. I haven’t read it more than once yet, but I did read it in one hilarious sitting.
So what’s it about? Life, I guess would be the best way to describe it, with both the good and bad bits represented. There are two chapters regarding her depression. Despite the bizarre nature of the book, and the weird stick figures, these chapters offer some real insight into how it feels to be depressed. There are stories about Halloween costumes gone awry, stories about her dog, stories about trying to be more responsible, and stories about being lost in the forest. She definitely has an interesting way of presenting these vignettes and often garners out-loud laughter. Sometimes, though, I’m not sure if the laughter is honest or of the freaked out variety. Either way, you’re laughing.
If you want an example, I’ll tell you about the “Lost in the Woods” chapter, a personal favorite. Bosch’s family moved to the mountains of Northern Idaho when she was a child. Since her mother felt like they should make use of all of that beautiful nature outside she got them up one day and took them on a long hike. Only she didn’t know anything about nature or hiking and promptly got them lost. In order to not upset the kids and to buy herself some time, she employed a number of strategies. First she told the kids that before they go home they needed to collect enough pine cones. Since the kids really wanted to go home, they started collecting all of the pine cones they could. And they collected so many that they started to get cut by them which caused bleeding, and then some of the pine cones had spiders in them but they kept collecting them because they thought this would mean they could go home. Finally the mother made them put them all down and they started playing a game called see who can yell “Help!” the loudest. By this point Allie had a good idea that they weren’t going home so she decided she was going to scare her mother into taking them home. She knew, because she had been hiding behind the couch a few nights before, that her mother was really afraid of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So she started talking about how there might be a crazy guy out in the woods who has a chainsaw. At which point her mother started crying and admitted they were lost. Allie’s sibling started scream-crying, “I don’t want to die!! I don’t want to die!!” That’s when Murphy the dog picked up a big stick in his mouth and started running around. They followed him and he lead them to an old logger’s road which finally took them to a house where they could call for a ride from Allie’s father.
See? Told you. Bizarre. Check it out today!