As a fan of Hyperbole and a Half, I was pleased to see that author and illustrator Allie Brosh has put out a new book. Her first book with its crude art style had been wickedly funny, but also surprisingly poignant as she gave a very accurate portrayal of what depression feels like. Much has changed in Brosh’s real-life since her first book was published in 2013 and that is reflected in this large 500-page graphic novel. Sadly, her younger sister committed suicide soon after Hyperbole and a Half was published and Brosh later got a divorce, although she has since remarried. So this book again is a mix of humor and pathos as she works through some of these issues.
This book is linked vignettes, with each chapter a little story of its own, with many of them about her childhood foibles. Brosh was a strange child, but the absurd stories make you look fondly back on your own youth, as children are typically magical thinkers and reality hasn’t fully connected with them. Hey, I used to walk around my neighborhood with black pants over my head, thinking that everyone would think I had long black tresses- when I’m sure they just thought I was a lil’ weirdo.
The chapters could be uneven but the ones that I found the most interesting (despite some of them being sad) were the chapters dedicated to her sister, her drug-induced night hike, and the last stories about loneliness and trying to like herself. Brosh’s simple art is part of the appeal, she is conveying ideas without her illustrations being accurate in the least. I think Brosh has a fresh and unique voice, and is relatable, as we all have had mixes of tragedy and humor in our lives. She brings it all forth with an unmistakable honesty, wit and style.