Graphic Novelty²


Allie Brosh

Solutions and other Problems

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. 


Hyperbole and a Half

Brosh, Allie. Hyperbole and a Half. 2013.

When I first saw this book I thought the cover showed a poorly drawn fish talking to a dog, so I had no interest in picking it up, but after a few people gave it glowing recommendations I gave it a try.

So it turns out that the fish was actually a woman with a wicked sense of humor. Her stories aren’t for everyone and at times she is extremely unlikable which made some of her chapters uneven. I loved her stories about her childhood in The God of Cake, The Party and Lost in the Woods,  although my god,  she was uncontrollable child at times. Her two chapters about depression as an adult gave a very accurate portrayal of what depression feels like. I hope people gain insight as to what it feels like, and how to truly help a person, instead of giving trite advice.

As I stated earlier, the book cover’s art work was off putting to me. The drawings are deliberately crude, with depictions of her looking non-human like. As my mind refuses to shake my first impression that she is a fish person, I thought the stories in which she is clutching fish especially funny to me. Each story is color coded, so when you look at the edge of the book, there is a rainbow of colors. I liked the differentiation of chapters by color, it was an appealing look. Some of her pictures have gone viral, especially the one of her holding the broom and shouting. Many memes have changed the wording of her original picture (as I did).

I checked out her blog, which the book was based off, but it not been updated since 2013, nor has her Twitter or Facebook page been updated recently. I discovered she has a new book, Solutions and Other Problems, coming out next year- so she might be saving new content for that book, for I hope it’s not a another bout of depression keeping her from updating the blog.  Give this mostly humorous book a try, for you will be sure to find a few stories in this collection that will make you laugh out loud!


Originally said “Clean all the things!”

Blog at

Up ↑