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Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half - Allie Brosh

I’m a little surprised at my own rating here, because I didn’t find this book as funny as anticipated. For some reason Brosh’s stories, accompanied by her signature Microsoft Paint illustrations, seem funnier in blog format – scrolling down rather than turning pages seems to serve their rhythm better. If you haven’t yet read the blog, check it out at http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com - the stories are told in the same fashion in both book and blog, and several of her most popular stories from the blog are reprinted in the book.


For me the funniest stories here are the ones about Brosh’s dogs, which consistently made me laugh. The stories about her childhood were hit or miss; I enjoyed the parrot, but more often her childhood antics, at least as Brosh presents them, are so extreme that they only left me feeling sorry for her parents. Meanwhile, the sections about her thought processes often aren’t funny at all, but I give Brosh a lot of credit for exposing the uglier parts of her psyche in such a ruthless way. The two-part story about her experience of depression gets a lot of attention, but I’m even more impressed with her for publishing “Thoughts and Feelings” and “Identity”; very few people would be brave enough to do that.


Finally, my rating is boosted by the book’s excellent re-read value. Because it consists more of pictures than words, it is a very quick read, but I found myself re-reading some of the stories multiple times while I had the book out from the library. It would be a mistake to assume from the crudeness of the illustrations that the author didn't put in a great deal of work; there’s more depth to both the pictures and the words than is immediately apparent.