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Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Hyperbole Look at this! A rare deviation into non‐fiction! If you’ve… looked anywhere else on this page… or this website… you might notice that non‐fiction isn’t really something… I do. Ever, pretty much. I mean, I don’t have anything against it. It just usually doesn’t strike me in a way that makes me feel… things.

But this did.

I first stumbled across Allie Brosh on her website, where she has some very, very funny stories up‐ she tells these little snippets of her life with these absolutely hilarious drawings, interspersed with text. The combination is unusual and it probably shouldn’t work, but it does. She tells these stories that are so funny sometimes I laugh so hard I cry, but they all… deliver something, too. Something that makes you, as the reader, feel really connected. So when I saw she had a book coming out, I was really excited to read it.

It took me a long time to read it. I think it came out a couple years ago, and I only read it a few months ago (as of when I’m writing this review.) But that actually worked really well, because a few of the things on her blog made their way into her book, but since I hadn’t seen those stories in a while, they were funny and new all over again.

I loved the book. It’s short, and you can read it in fragments, almost‐ picking up a story whenever you feel like it. And the stories are just… so, so funny. And they just impart so much‐ they tell you so much about Allie and her family and her life, but also about life in general. I mean, their funny but they have weight, too, which I love.

I think‐ no, I know‐ that the thing that took this book to the next level for me, though, was the sections in the middle, where Allie talks about having depression. You’d think it would be odd, to be reading this crazy funny book, and then come across these sections about a woman being so depressed that she actually felt like she wanted to kill herself. But it’s not. It’s sad, but it’s still funny, and it fits in with the book perfectly.

And this was, I think, the most concise, accurate description of depression I’ve ever, ever seen. When you’re depressed, or you have anxiety, attempting to explain it to someone is… a monumental task. Even afterward, trying to talk about how it feels in a way that makes sense to someone who’s never experienced that seems nearly impossible. But this book does it. I read those parts, and it was like someone was saying all the things I’d been trying to say for so long. It was incredible.

And it was still accessible, I think, to people who haven’t been there. It’s still funny. You can still relate to it and even really, really enjoy those parts of the book, even if you haven’t experienced that.

So overall, this book is deeper than I expected, gave me more than I expected, but also gave me all the comedy and lightness and fun I was expecting. It’s so balanced and well‐rounded. And just very, very enjoyable.   -SEL

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