Book Review | Hyperbole and a Half: unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happened by Allie Brosh

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You know who Allie Brosh is. Allie Brosh single-handedly gave birth to a good number of memes in the late 2000s that you have definitely seen. Brosh ran a blog that has been (sadly) inactive since 2013. She is also one of the funniest story tellers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

While on holiday in London one summer, I found a novel of hers. It contained stories from her blog, as well as posts that had never been published before. I had only read a few of her blog posts, so buying this book for me would not have been too boring – most of the stuff in it I had never read. Buying this book not only gave me the opportunity to read one of the funniest books I’ve ever bought, but also introduced me to my love of reading things aloud.

This is going to sound like a really weird thing to write a review about, but you guys have no idea how well this book lends itself to being read aloud. Brosh writes in a way that makes it seem as if she’s speaking to you, not just writing. Her analogies are hilarious, her stories include just the right amount of exaggeration to make it even funnier than it already was, and her drawings are insanely good for being made in MS Paint. This book allowed me to explore the fun of reading aloud, because it allowed me to experiment with my own tonality, pace, and also playing with voices. Since I’ve read this book, I’ve tried to do it with various different novels since, so on a personal note I love this book for introducing to me a skill that I have since worked to develop (because, trust me guys, reading aloud is a skill you need to work at).

But from the perspective of a reviewer, this book is so good because Brosh knows how to make her writing feel as if she’s having a conversation with you, and not like she’s trying to be something she’s not. Brosh isn’t afraid of talking about the person stuff – the time she got lost in the woods for almost 24 hours with her mother and little sister, the time she went to a birthday party while very heavily sedated, her battle with depression and a lack of motivation. All the stories she discusses in her book are things that have happened to her, aided with illustrations to make the story that much more pleasurable. But what’s great about this sort-of-memoir is that Brosh mixes in the funny with the serious. She talks about depression in one story, and then about the time her and her boyfriend were attacked by a goose in their home. She’ll speak about her problems with her own identity, and the problems she’s had with dealing with things like ADHD, and then quickly switch to a funny anecdote about her dogs, or the time she had a toy parrot that you could record messages into.

The book doesn’t take long to read – 5 hours, maximum. But it’s definitely something that everybody should try at least once. That, or convince a friend who owns this book to read you stories from it. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it just as much. My personal favourite to read out to people is ‘The Party’.

Final rating: 4/5

Buy it here!

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