Hyperbole and a Half is the popular humour cartoon blog written by Allie Brosh that went ballistic around 2010/2011 before Allie disappeared for eighteen months due to depression. This book is very basically her blog in book form, with half old content copy and pasted from the blog, and half new content.
Allie has the most wonderfully honest storytelling skills, and coupled with her deliberately shitty illustrations it combines to create a rather wonderful mixed media story. I have on more than one occasion laughed out loud reading the blog and I found myself, even when reading content I’d already read more than once before, laughing and giggling re-reading the stories in this book.
The books is basically the awkward self-reflections of an obnoxious undisciplinable child turned adult desperate for attention and validation, a nobody with an unchallenged sense of superiority, and often faced with the certainty of mediocrity. Allie knows she’s not particularly special, but she still believes she is, and she has many psychological delusions to help her keep that beliefs, even if she’s aware of her particular delusions. It’s all very interesting.
Allie’s not afraid to be completely honest in her posts, and often tells the tale of how much of a shitty person she was growing up. She often feels like a good person not by doing good deeds but by thinking of doing good deeds and actively not doing shitty deeds. There is a particularly poignant two part story on suffering from depression. I recall when it went up on her blog and so many people all around the internet first rejoiced that Allie had finally reappeared, but then so many of those readers thanked her for describing exactly how they felt, too.
I think I found the most entertaining new stories to be about her two dogs, the simple dog and the asshole helper dog. I’d like to read more stories about Allie’s dogs’ adventures, and probably a bit more about Allie’s boyfriend-turned-husband Duncan, who has stood by her side and supported her through mega internet popularity and crippling depression.
Allie is the kind of person I suspect most people secretly want to be: an unsuccessful person who has made a success out of being unsuccessful. Her crude shitty drawings are actually perfect storytelling devices and a lot of thought and planning clearly goes into each and every post as well as the illustrations. Her honesty isn’t exactly refreshing but I’m sure a lot of people can identify with her own thoughts and feelings she bares on the page, and in turn be OK with the kind of person they are.
Overall if you’re already a fan of Allie or enjoy humorous shitty-drawn comics and the tales of an obnoxious child who always gets her own way, you’ll probably enjoy this novel. I borrowed my copy from my library but I’m planning on purchasing my own copy.