Book Review: "Hyperbole and a Half" by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a HalfAllie Brosh started a weird blog in 2009 instead of pursuing a career as a scientist (stop shaking your heads; this story has a good ending). That blog, hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com, became so popular that she got a book deal out of it. And now we have Hyperbole and a Half (2013), thank goodness—a book that might be the lovechild of the Internet and literature. The blog and the book are full of short stories or essays from Brosh’s life. While these stories are hilarious on their own, they are supplemented by drawings made, most likely, in Paint (yes, the drawing application for your computer). Though these drawings are technically bad, as any other Paint creation would be, they are oddly accurate and bring the stories to a whole new level. I laughed so much at a series of drawings of Brosh trying to get “simple dog” to sit that I cried.

I read Hyperbole and a Half during one of the snow days we’ve recently been blessed with here in Dallas. I could not put it down, which means I neglected some more important things. However, that’s okay because the important things got done, and the book was entertaining.

Most of Brosh’s stories are silly (cue a goose getting into the house), but there are other stories/essays that tackle more serious issues like depression and identity. In particular, the two depression chapters really struck me. Brosh is able to write and draw about depression in a humorous way without being offensive, which is impressive. As someone who suffers from chronic depression, I felt a connection to these chapters and Brosh because I realized that I’m not the only one who finds it incredibly hard to do menial tasks simply because I lack suitable amounts of serotonin and norepinephrine. The depression chapters are ridiculous and comforting, and so are the other chapters with a less silly focus. If anything that edges toward seriousness repels you, I assure you that there are many stories in the book and on the website that steer clear of subjects which must not be named.

Both Hyperbole and a Half the book and blog have great quotes and greater pictures and greatest characters. And you know what’s so awesome about the characters? They’re actual beings. They exist! “Simple dog,” in my opinion, steals the show, and I would love to meet her one day. All these funny situations are real, and I bet you that there will be something in Hyperbole and a Half that makes you think that you and Brosh are leading eerily similar lives.

Honestly, anyone whose parents allow them to read the f-word (or those who are independent and can read any words they want) should read this book, but keep it out of the hands of whatever the name of the generation before the Baby Boomers is… They didn’t like Elvis. They wouldn’t like this.

Leslie Michaels is currently a Level 2 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She spends her spare time riding her bicycle, playing Ultimate Frisbee, or hanging out with her boyfriend, Netflix. She still questions whether she’s a dog person or a cat person.