“On a fundamental level, I am someone who would throw sand at children. I know this because I have had to resist doing it, and that means that it’s what I would naturally be doing if I wasn’t resisting it.”
Reader, if you have ever had the desire to throw sand at children, maybe you will love Allie Brosh’s work as much as I do. Maybe you already love her work and are familiar with her blog, hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com. It’s a series of insightful and hilarious observations told through prose and short comic illustrations. The illustrations are bizarrely, incredibly expressive, and the stories reach right into your brain and poke it in its ticklish spots. It’s like a technicolor David Sedaris on a sugar rush.
Brosh’s book is a combination of stories from the blog and some new ones told in a similar fashion. Banish your coffee table books about the work of Kandinsky, or Coco Chanel’s Paris apartment. Be real, you never look at that shit anyway. Display this as your new coffee-table book, and you will be established as cool in the minds of everyone who counts. It will be a new litmus test for awesome friends.
Hyperbole… has damn near everything you could ask for in a book. Comic illustrations that are organic to the stories. Trenchant analyses of depression (seriously one of the best descriptions of how depression feels that I have ever ever read), self-loathing, motivation, rebellion, and more. Idiot dogs who eat bees and when they bark they shoot bees from their mouths. (Okay, they don’t actually shoot bees from their mouths. “Simpsons” reference.) Cake. (Have I got you yet? Come on: Cake.) The song “Hot Cross Buns,” the mention of which will set you laughing aloud if you played a woodwind or brass instrument as a teenager.
On page 276, Brosh describes her disappointment when she realizes the cute otter she sees pictured in a magazine will never be readily available to her as a furry animal friend. She makes this observation as an adult, not as a child. She notes, “Picture caused subject to feel strong feelings. Loved the otter. Agitated because cannot interact with the otter. Otter is not real. Will never interact with it. Subject feels this is not fair.” Now, I could have read most of what is in this book on Brosh’s blog, but I am thrilled to own the book, not only because of the extra content, but also because Allie Brosh is my magazine otter. My imaginary version of her as inspired by her writing agitates me because I will likely never interact with the real Allie Brosh. (It’s okay, Allie, I’m crazy, stay away.) But holding her book in my hands makes me feel a little bit closer.