If you don’t already know about Allie Brosh, you should. Her famous blog and webcomic “Hyperbole and a Half” is one of the funniest and most honest depictions of the vagaries of everyday life to grace the internet.
After a long period of silence on her website, last year Brosh published a collection of her greatest works to date titled “Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem and Other Things That Happened.”
The collection includes such internet classics as “The Simple Dog,” “The Helper Dog is an A**hole,” “This is Why I’ll Never Be an Adult” and her poignant, highly realistic portrayals of a major depressive episode. Brosh’s signature style combines childlike, crude MSPaint drawings with a—wait for it—hyperbolic storytelling style that heightens the absurdity of everyday life. Her subject matter includes, but is not limited to: childhood antics, dogs, other animals, food and the challenges of life as a young adult.
I’ve been a longtime fan of Brosh’s work and have delighted in the chance to reread all of her greatest hits. I’m sure my neighbors came to the conclusion that I’m a complete and utter lunatic as I laughed hysterically for about ten minutes while rereading “The Helper Dog is an A**Hole.”
As if to prepare the reader by first providing an opportunity for side-splitting laughter, in her book, Brosh follows this comic with “Depression Part One” and “Depression Part Two.” I consider these comics, especially “Part Two,” perhaps the most vindicating and truthful representations of major depression that I’ve ever encountered.
Brosh’s year-long absence from her website was due to her own experiences with major depression and suicidal ideation. In these comics, she compassionately reveals the inner workings of a depressed person’s mind while maintaining a certain self-conscious distance that allows her to poke gentle fun at the absurdity of depression and life in general. Her portrayals of depression have been widely praised by psychologists and critics for their accuracy.
Although I’m generally very pleased with the comics selected for this book, I was disappointed to see some of my old favorite comics excluded, including Brosh’s “improved medical pain chart” and “The Alot is Better Than You at Everything.” However, I suppose one does always have the internet, after all.
If you’ve never heard of “Hyperbole and a Half” before, I suggest you get yourself to an internet search engine so that you can fill your life with the MSPaint magic of Allie Brosh. If you’re already a fan, this book is guaranteed to bring you great joy.
As Brosh has begun updating her website again, I can only hope that a sequel and possibly many more volumes may follow the book form of “Hyperbole and a Half.” The world needs more of the madcap genius in these comics that magnifies the ludicrousness of every day as well as our deepest fears with devastating humor. All hail Allie Brosh.