Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosh

HyperboleFull Title: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, FLawed Coping Mechanisms, Meyhem, and Other Things That Happened

From Goodreads.com:This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative–like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it–but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

Published: 2013

Why I Chose It: Um….

The Review:

So I have no reason for why I chose this book because after I started reading it, I realized I had no idea why I had picked it up. I honestly think I had read the title online and had been lured in based on that alone. Here I was thinking this would be a comedic look at people in awkward situations, with funny or ideal ways to get out of them.

I’m sure on some level I was aware that Hyberbole and a Half  is actually a blog (Found here: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/). I’m sure I’ve heard of it before. And who of us haven’t seen all of the memes that exist because of this blog.

For example:


Yep, definitely know it. Yet somehow I had completely blocked this from my memory and failed to connect Hyperbole-the-book to Hyperbole-the-blog. Yes, even with the super recognizable picture on the cover.

Now, I’ve never really been a follower of the blog, by which I mean I’ve never visited it and have simply picked it up through Twitter and Tumblr over time. This is why I didn’t realize that this type of humour isn’t really my type of humour.

No, I didn’t find the book funny. At all. There were a few things that made me smile, but that’s it. I can totally understand why other people find it funny, but… not me. I was also suffering disappointment from the book not being what I was looking forward to – bad mix.

There were a few things I liked about the book. I did enjoy the drawings throughout some of the stories. Though overly simplistic, the stick figure drawings manage to convey extreme human emotion, and communicate the message of the story perfectly. Some of those faces are the faces I make inside my head at people, so it was rather entertaining to see them on the page.

There is also one section where Brosh looks at depression: how it feels, and how other people react to a person being depressed. This section really spoke to me. Everything Brosh said was undeniably true. The way she addresses depression through her awkward humour was brilliant, and made me really appreciate how depression might look for someone who is actually depressed – and how well-meaning people can come across as horrible.

But the rest was just…random. Too many random stories about her dogs, or her dinosaur costume, or being a child hyped up on sugar. Not only did I feel like there weren’t any point to many of the stories (humourous or otherwise) but overall, I felt like there was little point to the entire book. I kept expecting some overarching theme to appear, that magically linked all of the stories together and come to a grand conclusion. But that never happened. Everything just seemed really disjointed, like someone had grabbed a whole bunch of random posts and shoved them between two book covers.

So I think unfortunately this book was simply not for me. I know a ton of people loved it, and it won the Goodreads Choice Award in Humour for 2013.  I just felt I couldn’t get into it, and I didn’t get a lot of the humour. I think this book would be ideal for fans of the Hyperbole blog or of Brosh’s work. Definitely if you like meme humour or other comic blogs on the internet, this is worth a try.

Rating: 2 / 5


“Most people can motivate themselves to do things simply by knowing that those things need to be done. But not me. For me, motivation is this horrible, scary game where I try to do something while I actively avoid doing it. If I win, I have to do something I don’t want to do. If I lose, I’m one step closer to ruining my entire life. And I never know whether I’m going to win or lose until the last second.” p 35

“But people want to help. So they try harder to make you feel hopeful and positive about the situation. You explain it again, hoping they’ll try a less-centric approach, but re-explaining your total inability to experience joy inevitably sounds kind of negative, like maybe you WANT to be depressed. So the positivity starts coming out in a spray – a giant, desperate happiness sprinkler pointed directly at your face.” p 131



2 comments on “Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosh

  1. I have this book too. To be honest, it wasn’t as funny as I was anticipating considering how much I love the memes. I agree with you about how well this stick figure conveys emotion.

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