Review: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

Saturday, April 12, 2014 11:00 AM
Title: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
Author: Allie Brosh
Published: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Touchstone
Genre: Non-Fiction, Humor
Pages: 371
Source: Gift
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
“No one could tell me not to eat an entire cake—not my mom, not Santa, not God—no one. It was my cake and everyone else could go fuck themselves.”
―Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half

Synopsis 
This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative--like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it--but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Pictures
Words
Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness! (Goodreads)
My Thoughts
Every once and awhile, I like to mix it up and read something funny instead of the darker reads I usually pick up, and Hyperbole and a Half was just what I needed to tickle my funny bone. Hyperbole and a Half was such a delightful read, and I'm still recovering from the uncontrollable fits of laughter it caused. I don't know how Brosh does it, but she takes everyday situations and just makes them hysterically funny with a few simple drawings and spot-on word choice. I've been a fan of her blog, Hyperbole and a Half, for years so I was ecstatic when I heard she had a book coming out. This book is a mix of new chapters and some posts from her blog, and each chapter is a whirlwind of emotion, equal parts touching and hilarious.

Before reading Hyperbole and a Half, you should be adequately prepared for the wonderful craziness that is Brosh's mind. At first, the book's focus may seem all over the place, but all of the chapters deal with Brosh's life experiences and reveal more of her quirks. Topically, the book deals with both heavier topics, such as Allie's struggles with depression, and lighter topics, such as her neurotic dogs and a psychotic goose.

Having suffered from depression for years, I sympathized with the chapters that depicted Brosh's own battle with depression. It's difficult to describe depression and its symptoms, but Brosh nailed it. She knew just what metaphors to use, and I was amazed at how dead-on her descriptions were.

As for the drawings, don't be fooled by their roughness. Her drawings are purposely crude because, as Brosh so aptly puts it, "shitty drawings are funny." Despite their simplicity, her drawings are able to convey a myriad of emotions. And Brosh says she goes through many revisions for these drawings before she's finished, so a great deal of time goes into these.

As always, the dog stories remain my favorites because Brosh's dogs are insane while they are also lovable. I've read some book reviews and comments that accuse Brosh of being an abusive or neglectful pet owner. That is absurd. Like Brosh, all of my pets are rescue animals and a couple of them were abused. Our mastiff German Shepherd mix was, well to put it lightly, quite a handful when we first got her. As in, she destroyed a ton of our stuff, suffered from anxiety attacks and sometimes refused to stop whining or barking for a long period of time. So I definitely could understand what Brosh was going through when her dogs were whining nonstop. Some readers immediately assumed she wasn't taking care of them, but I saw nothing to suggest that Brosh is anything but a loving, patient dog owner who is willing to work with her animals despite their oddities. She even mentions that they have tried many different approaches and have taken their dogs to training. To me, it was evident that she loves and cares for these dogs. Was she exasperated? Yes. But who wouldn't be? But she was never abusive, and I could understand her frustrations while I also found them amusing having been there myself. Okay, now ending rant...

If you're craving sidesplitting laughter, this book is for you. If you love simpleminded dogs and crazy children who inhale cake like oxygen, this book is for you. If you are reading this post right now, this book is for you. Basically, if you need a breather from the longer, denser books you've been reading, this light, fun book is just what you need.



4 comments:

  1. I've been craving a lighter read for awhile but didn't know where to find it, so thanks for putting this one on my radar, Courtney! I'll have to pick it up for sure when I'm at the library next. :)

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    Replies
    1. Yay! Of course! I'm excited to hear what you think about it. It's a funny read, and it definitely puts you in a great mood :D

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  2. I really enjoyed this one, too. I'd never heard of Allie's blog when I first got the arc of this book, but now that I do know, I'm definitely a fan. I loved both the hilarious anecdotes (like the birthday cake) to the more serious ones dealing with her depression. The dog ones were also some of my favorites. It is ridiculous that anybody would ever think she was abusive! People are so stupid. She obviously loves her dogs and is completely awesome for taking in an abused dog. Great review!

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    1. I KNOW! I completely agree! This book and her blog are so amazing, and I want to meet her so bad! She has such funny posts, and her dogs sound awesome :D I'm glad you loved this too. It had me laughing out loud.

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