Monday, March 23, 2015

Staff Pick - Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Well, I feel like I've had an education. I've never read a graphic novel and I don't think I've read a comic book since I was a child. I can't remember why I put Hyperbole and a Half: unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happened by Allie Brosh on hold, but I'm very glad that I did. I did not know about creating comics with MS Paint, I did not know about rage comics, I never heard of Allie Brosh, nor of her meme "All of the things". So, out from under my rock I come.

Her stories are moving, hilarious and universal. She writes about her dogs, one simple and one a helper dog who question and fail to understand the world around them. I also had a dog who was a sea cucumber with legs, so I feel that we are soul mates in a way. She recalls her childhood and tells stories about her obsession with cake, the day her mother got lost in the woods and the parrot toy with which she and her sister tortured their parents. In a few words Brosh gets right to the heart of the matter. If you have ever procrastinated, read her story Motivation and share with her the shame of that object that sits there, the job undone.

Perhaps most moving is her description of living with depression, recovering from depression and relating back the entire experience. I normally shy away from inward looking memoirs, but found this one to be particularly engaging. It would usually be very sad to read about someone who did not want to live anymore, but in this case, I think it was the illustrations that kept me going. Brosh depicts herself as a stick-like, blob figure with a pink dress and yellow cone-like hair. You wouldn't think such a crude drawing could be so expressive, but dang it all, it is! I especially amused by when she is mad or disgusted. This made me laugh aloud, which may reflect more on me than her. But I digress.

Absurd, poignant, hilarious and charming. And back under my rock I go. 

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