Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
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Cannonball Read V: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

By gentlyfalling | Book Reviews | November 22, 2013 | Comments ()


Allie Brosh’s blog, Hyperbole and a Half, is very funny, and I have been reading it for years. She took an extended break from blogging after struggling with some health issues but had previously announced she was writing a book. I have consequently had this on my Christmas list for years, but I was taking a relatively long flight last week and saw it being promoted in Hudson News in the airport. I could not resist the impulse purchase, and so now the gentleman who was sitting next to me on the plane might think I am a lunatic. So, thank you, Allie Brosh?

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened was designed with some fun details - each chapter is printed on different coloured paper, and the paper is glossy as with trade paperback graphic novels. It comes with a glowing review by another of my favourite bloggers, Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), along with some explanations and lies by the author on the back.

As is the case with Lawson’s book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened, reading a book based partly off a favourite blog means that you will have previously read some of the material. Hyperbole and a Half includes some of Brosh’s most popular posts, including the post about being a grown up that spawned the “Clean All the Things” meme and my favourite, “The Party.” I don’t mind that these chapters were included, since I tend to go back and reread them every year or so anyways. It also includes her recent chapters about dealing with depression, which are touching and accurate. The new chapters include several meditations on her inner life and personality, but the section that made me cackle on a crowded plane is the introduction. Brosh writes a series of letters to her younger self at a variety of ages, trying to convince herself to stop various strange behaviours. For some reason, the pictures of a young Brosh creepily staring at her sleeping parents and standing naked in a playground absolutely cracked me up.

The book is great, just as witty and creative and revealing as one would expect from reading Brosh’s blog. I am already thinking of whom I can lend it to next.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read V. Read all about it, and watch for info about Cannonball Read SIX on the group blog. Ffor more of gentlyfalling’s reviews, check out their eponymous blog.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links in this this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Guest

    She had a really good Reddit AMA, and lots of commenters talked about how her posts on depression were just really helpful in facilitating conversations and understanding about depression. It was interesting, because both therapists and those who are depressed had similar comments.

  • laylaness

    It's fantastic. I was reading my pre-ordered Kindle edition in bed, and was laughing uncontrollably, shaking the whole bed and crying, much to the dismay of my dogs and boyfriend.

  • John W

    I've had this in my shopping cart for awhile. I guess I need to pull the trigger.

  • emmalita

    It's so good my dad and his brother were swiping it from each other.

  • e jerry powell

    I love Allie!

    Can't say anything else right now, because Allie's work has been a through-line in many sessions with my therapist.

  • chanohack

    I am Christmas hinting this book at my brother SO HARD right now.

  • BLZ Bubb

    Hah! I read this on a flight last week while seated next to a Deacon. After multiple sideways glances he finally asked me what it was about. I told him it was a humorous look at life from the perspective of a young twentysomething. I'm not sure he bought my description.
    Anyway...great blog, great book.

  • Travis_J_Smith

    Since it's a relatively new release, it's not available to me through the interlibrary loan system. So it'll be a while before I get my hands on it, unfortunately.

  • llp

    That is frustrating. I get a lot of my books through ILL too, and new releases can often be a looonnnngggg wait.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    The Times had a nice little interview with her a few days ago. She's adorable! (ready to be played by Kristen Bell in a movie version)


  • Sirilicious

    Kristen would be PERFECT!

  • mswas

    She was also on NPR's Fresh Air. I have it downloaded but haven't had time to listen yet. http://www.npr.org/2013/11/12/...

  • DataAngel

    I'd preordered this when she announced it, so I got it right after it was released. I still haven't read all of it. I have to stop after each tale and put it down for a while because I'm laughing so hard I can't breathe. If I tried to read it all in one sitting I'd probably pass out, hit my head, die, and be eaten by my dog.

  • emmalita

    That would be appropriate!

  • OMGLookPanda

    I've heard of her blog but I didn't realize that she had a book out. I picked it up and read it all in one day. (I don't read a lot this is an accomplishment!) One of the main reasons why I picked it up was because I'm currently dealing with depression. Unfortunately corn under a fridge won't make it better for me, it does feel good to see how other people deal with it. I found a lot of things there that I could relate to. Oh and the part about the goose I was laughing so much lol

  • chanohack

    Depression blows. :( I'm sorry your fish are so dead. I hope you find some corn soon!

  • emmalita

    I discovered her while I was in a depression pit. I read her post on dogs not understanding moving and laughed like a loon. Her post was my kernel of corn. Good luck on your battle.

  • emmelemm

    Ditto on all counts.

  • SVR

    I really enjoyed the book, but I have to admit I feel Brosh's style works best in blog form. There's something about being able to scroll down and view her illustrations in an unbroken line that heightens the comedy. Every time I had to turn the page to get to, say, the fourth picture in a series of four, I felt like the timing of a punchline was off. Content is great though.

  • MrsAtaxxia

    I am buying this for my mother for Christmas. I cannot wait to hear her breathless with laughter at the Parp story.

  • Az


  • Green Lantern


    (kills me...evr tiem!)

  • llp

    Parp? Parpy?

  • Idle Primate

    I can't wait to get this. And now I'm excited that there is new original material. I thought it was simply an anthology compiled from her blog.

  • llp

    There were a few things I hadn't read before, so I might have missed them on the blog, or it might be new - goose in the house and nature walk with her mother, for example. Certainly the introduction is original. I don't know, just thinking about it is making me giggle.

  • BWeaves

    Goose in the house is on the blog and has an actual VIDEO of it.

  • llp

    She includes stills from the video in the book. I have had raccoons stalk me in the house, but never geese.

    Now I am a bit worried that I missed a lot on the blog and overcommitted in the review - maybe it is just new to me?

  • BWeaves

    It's OK. You just have to go find the video. It's hilarious. It will only add to your enjoyment.

  • Lauren_Lauren

    No, no, you're good. There's a bunch of new stuff - maybe 60% new, 40% blog?

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