Saturday, August 20, 2022

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Book Review

‘Hyperbole and a Half’ is comic genius


BookCourtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Julie Goodrich

Touchstone Books



CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

384 pp.

There aren’t enough synonyms for “awesome” to describe this book, “Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened.” Ridiculous, hilarious, emotional, awkward, brilliant, subtle, painful, comforting are all adequate adjectives, but each fails to fully express how much I loved this book. Would it seem a bit hyperbolic to say it’s the best book of the year? It is, quite simply, awe-inspiring.

Allie Brosh is a popular webcomic, whose site, Hyperbole and a Half, has been entertaining readers for years. The awkward, Crayon-style drawings we’ve all done in MS Paint have never been put to better use. The deceptively simple art adds to the humor and irreverent nature of the comics, taking them from silly anecdotes to bits of comic genius. There is a reason so many of Allie Brosh’s comics have spawned Internet-wide memes. They are easy to understand, relatable, witty and oh-so funny. Her pieces strike an universal note that few comics can match.

Like many humor books, the topics in “Hyperbole and a Half” are all over the map: dogs, adulthood, the embarrassment of childhood and more. Her talent shines the brightest, however, in the stories of her struggle with depression. Wise, genuine and yet still laugh-out-loud funny, Brosh’s ongoing battle will strike a chord with anyone who has dealt with this pervasive illness. Insight and raw emotion are unusual finds here. The unexpected depth, along with the brilliant humor, has me endlessly recommending this book to anyone and everyone — family, friends, people in the checkout line, drivers at stop lights, the mail man…

Julie Goodrich is a collector of pretty words, geeky T-shirts and obsolete college degrees. She lives in Grimes with two weird cats and an obscene number of books. She recently earned a shiny new master’s degree in Library Science and is actively looking for a job. Know of one? Call her!

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