I read this shortly after it came out and I’ve been meaning to write about it but, for whatever reason, hadn’t gotten to it. Story of my life.
Everyone I know is a huge fan of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half, so I’m honestly not sure what to say about this volume. It’s a collection of blog posts as well as some new material. It’s a substantial book, even in paperback, and it basically is what it says on the cover.
All that said, I’m glad I have it. I admire Brosh’s blunt discussion of the way depression has affected her and her life and the visual depictions serve only to drive the point home. This is, in places, a very moving book. It’s also–sometimes at the same time–very funny.
I know I didn’t read Brosh’s blog for a long time because I found the artwork off-putting and it took me some time to recognize that despite it’s simplicity and garishness, it’s actually quite good. There’s an expressiveness and energy to it that would be lost if things were drawn more realistically–the MS Paint quality of the illustration lets Brosh be both direct and, well, hyperbolic. It’s an interesting juxtaposition and one that works extremely well.
I have very mixed feelings about the blog-to-book pipeline and the more I think about this book, the more I think about that pipeline and what it means. On one hand, it is a way of bypassing traditional gatekeepers–especially for books like this one–but on the other, it’s an easy way for publishers to make money off an already established audience. I don’t know. It’s complicated at best and I certainly don’t begrudge anyone the ability to make a living from their art.