Book Review: Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh (2013)

Monday, December 16th, 2013

YOU NEED THIS BOOK.

four out of five stars

I kind of feel like a d-bag using the term “laugh out loud funny” in a review – or any kind of everyday conversation, for that matter – but Hyperbole and a Half is just that. Several times I got to laughing so hard that one or more of my dogs fled the room in fear and confusion. Whether reliving especially bizarre and embarrassing childhood memories (my mother will be relieved to know that I was not the only ten-year-old to run around on all fours, lapping water from bowls, pretending to be a leopard or a horse or a slobbering German Shepherd), or trying to reassure her neurotic rescue dog (see: the previous sentence), Brosh’s stories are consistently hilarious, not a little heartbreaking, and totally relatable. In an interview I caught online, Brosh said that she draws herself as a lumpy, weird-looking little creature because that’s how she sees herself. I know the feels.

Fans of the web comic may wonder whether they really need to buy this book. Rest assured: YOU NEED THIS BOOK. If you don’t buy it, at least borrow it from the library (have fun waiting out the queue!). With a mix of previously published (“The Party,” “The God of Cake,” “Depression” Parts One and Two) and new material (“The Hot Sauce Debacle,” “Lost in the Woods,” “Identity” Parts One and Two), you don’t want to miss out. Plus, you kind of have to love a book whose dedication page reads “For Scott. What now, fucker?” And the chapters are even color-coded, yo! This is easily one of the soundest buying decisions I made in 2013.

Not sure what to get your potty-mouthed introvert of a cousin this holiday season? Unlike the writhing mass of anxiety and self-loathing that forms the heart of this book, Hyperbole and a Half will easily fit inside an x-mas stocking. Bonus points if it’s paw-shaped.

As much as I adore it, I’m giving Hyperbole and a Half four stars instead of the full five because the author uses the r-word to refer to “the simple dog.” Not cool.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)