Hyperbole and a Half | book review

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, and Other Things That Happened

Author: Allie Brosh
Series: n/a
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 369
Publisher: Touchstone
Original Publication Date: 2013
Genre(s): Non-fiction, Humor, Graphic novel

Allie Brosh is a blogger who decided to turn her funny drawings and unique experiences into a book. I don’t know what she does now. Hyperbole and a Half is 3/4 comics and 1/4 prose, detailing various instances in Brosh’s life that are either funny, weird, notable, or all of the above.

Let me start by saying that I read this with my book club as our August book. Well, turns out no one is really that serious about having book club, as we never actually keep our weekend free for the meeting, so it kind of fizzled out. I was going to post this after our meeting, but as you can see, it’s already September and no meeting has occurred. So book club is nonexistent, and here’s my review of this book.

I knew I was in trouble when I saw Jenny Lawson’s name on the back of the book… Lawson wrote Furiously Happy, a book my coworker lent to me earlier this year that I actually had to DNF. I have a policy of not DNFing anything, so I felt bad for doing it, but I just could not… So, seeing Lawson’s praise for this book had me nervous.

I actually did finish this book, though. It only took 2 sittings, as it’s largely cartoon strips with bits of supporting text. Brosh uses poorly (but comically) drawn cartoon strips to talk about her awkward childhood and her unique adult experiences. Each chapter details a different event or experience.

The book is nonlinear, and because of the style this story is told, I often couldn’t figure out if Brosh was 5 or 25 during certain chapters. I really couldn’t decipher a difference; she did weird stuff at all ages. And I guess that’s the main pull of this story? Like Lawson, Brosh details her battle with depression and uses humor and weird experiences to do so. I’m sure you recognize her cartoons, as one of them became an internet meme back in the day:

See the source image

Yeah, her book is mostly just filled with these awkwardly drawn characters.

Like I said with Furiously Happy, I am just the wrong audience for the book. It’s not a bad book, it’s just not meant for me. So though I do give it a low rating, I want you guys to know that doesn’t make it bad. If you’re into this kind of humor, please give it a read.

I did find some funny parts, though! Anything about Brosh’s dogs was funny. In fact, one of them reminds me of my dog Nova:


The beginning was also funny, with the letter and how her 10-year-old self wanted a response from her future self: “Please write back.” I laughed out loud at that. My girlfriend then made fun of me, saying that I always laugh at the least-funny things. I love her. I also really loved the toy parrot story. That had me dying.

Other than that, I wasn’t too interested in the book. I just kind of wanted to finish it to finish it. Again, though, I’m just the wrong person for the book. So please don’t discredit it just because I did not enjoy it. If you liked Furiously Happy, you’ll probably like this, too.

Favorite Quotes

–“To me, the future doesn’t seem real. It’s jut this magical place where I can put my responsibilities so that I don’t have to be scared while hurtling toward failure at eight hundred miles per hour.”

My Rating

Weep Ranking

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