Friday, January 22, 2016

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

I followed Allie's blog back in the day, and was dismayed when she stopped posting. I was then very happy when she came out with the book, but never got around to reading it until now, when my friend Cory lent me it.

I remember a lot of stories from her blogs, with smatterings of new stories. Her blog stories are refined with added notes and a sense of finality to them that was missing from her blog. I laughed out loud several times, and my favorite illustration out of the entire book is when she is describing depression, and there is a picture of Allie with her grey hoodie on, tied up around her face, slumped down on the couch with the biggest mean frown. Seriously, that panel describes much of my life. I could put that picture on a t-shirt if I could.

I have a few favorite stories but the Goose story (with actual video/pictures included) takes the cake. The reference to the urban legend about the serial killer in the backseat and how she sometimes freaks herself out so much that she has to pull over and checks the back seat was a direct flashback to the times I pulled over and checked my own backseat because I freaked myself out. The panels showing the goose peering up into the... viewfinder? rearview mirror? I don't know what it's called, like the serial killer she (we) always envisioned made me laugh out loud.

I also loved the comics with the Helper Dog and Special Dog. The blurbs of the Special Dog thinking in shapes is exactly what I picture when I look at my own cat, Nacho. Beans is nowhere near as mean as Helper Dog, but just as savage. Their thought bubbles is so on the nose in how I think they would talk if they could speak.

Her stories about describing depression and not feeling anything has been lauded by psychologists, therapists and those who have depression everywhere, stating that it is the most accurate way to describe the disorder. As someone who has been depressed, but doesn't suffer from chronic depression, it was a good way to see how someone with depression feels, or doesn't feel, all the time. It allowed me to attempt to see it through their eyes, and try to be more empathetic to my friends that were suffering from it.

Allie Brosh is such talented writer and an illustrator. It takes real talent to intentionally draw so terribly but convey so much. She's hilarious, and her insight is profound in how millennials think and act.

Her blog has not been updated since 2013, and to my knowledge, is not working on a second book. Her fans speculate what happened to her and knowing that she deals with depression, hope that she's OK. I could hum and hah over what happened or what she's doing now, or even presume what she's going through but I have no idea. Like the rest of her fans, however, I hope she's doing well and seeking happiness in whatever she's doing.

I hope she one day writes another book with all new comics and stories. She could make the drying of wet paint seem funny, with her iconic stick figure (with the yellow triangle as her ponytail... so great) is ingenious.

 Go read her blog if you have not done so already. I would also check out her book when you get a chance.

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