It’s not too often that you read something knowing how awesome it’ll be before you read it. But I knew that when I recently got the Hyperbole and a Half book by Allie Brosh that I’d love it. (I had pre-ordered it months earlier.) I’ve read Allie’s blog for years, and so I already knew most of what was in the book. But re-reading it, especially now that I’m with Rory, it was full of extra significance.
The physical book itself is a great format. It’s paperback, but the pages are very heavy, and the colors are vibrant, just like on her blog by the same name. The stories are all in a different order from on her blog, but probably arranged that way on purpose (or not—knowing Allie, you never know). The book jumps into action with a section on her childhood. She was an unusual kid, and she knows it. And anyone reading the book who hasn’t read her blog now knows it.
Dogs are a theme throughout, starting with that first story, as is—of course—depression. The past couple of years have found us mostly without anything new to read on Allie’s blog. She went through a significant bout of depression, including feeling suicidal. She wrote about it a bit a while back, and then more recently wrote a Part 2 to that first post. Both were amazing, and likely extremely triggering to people in a delicate frame of mind.
Now, I haven’t ever been suicidal, or significantly depressed for an extended period of time. But I have been depressed to the point—on more than one occasion—where I found no joy in life or the people I loved, didn’t enjoy the things I usually did, didn’t care about anything. My depression spanned weeks or months, rather than years, but I found that Allie was able to put into words many of the feelings I had felt at the time.
While the Hyperbole and a Half book is filled with real life challenges such as these, it’s also filled with hilarious, laugh your ass off, can’t stop crying you’re laughing so hard stories. “Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving” made me laugh almost continuously. Some of the stories in the book I hadn’t read, though I’m not sure if that’s because I somehow missed them on her blog, or if they were new. (I really should look that up, but fuck it. I’m too lazy.)
Hyperbole and a Half is a freaking fantastic book that I recommend to just about anyone, definitely not just those with mental illness. Allie is an amazing and funny creature, and you should support her and buy her book. Or if you’re feeling poor, just go read her blog. Also, follow her on Twitter.
P.S. I wrote about Allie on here before. Check out that post, too.