59. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
Few books make me laugh aloud. However, I giggled from page one of this graphic novel. Many of the situations and thought processes were relatable in a sadly humorous way. Even my sister who does not like reading as much enjoyed paging through this book. Although some of the language was harsher than I like (more on that later), Hyperbole and a Half was simply too enjoyable and helpful to not mention on Media Monday.
Synopsis: Rather difficult to explain, this book is a mixture of a graphic novel and collection of essays. Brightly colored panels tell short stories from Allie Brosh’s life. The tale topics range from depression to teaching her “simple” dog to being a strange child. Humor fills the entire book, but there is also a sense of hope for a better future despite mental illness.
Recovery Pluses: Laughter can be great medicine. Without being cruel, Brosh makes her illness seem funny. The pain remains, but she is willing to laugh at it instead of dissolving into tears or giving in to hopelessness. An example of this is her story of the stages of depression. Instead of simply instructing or illustrating what depression feels like, the book uses goofy pictures and over-the-top metaphors to really pinpoint her emotions. When I read this, I realized how ridiculous my thoughts sound sometimes. This does not take away the pain they cause me. It simple allows me to laugh at life instead of becoming better or frustrated. Brosh has an amazing ability to see the humor in everything.
Another benefit to the lighter tone of this book is that it can appeal to anyone. People without mental illness would probably enjoy reading it. Yet, even as they laugh about it, awareness about depression is taking place. Books like this show how there are many ways to educate others. Although funny, Hyperbole and a Half can serve as a great way for support people to better understand their loved ones.
Cautions: There are some strong swear words throughout this book. Most are used in a flippant manner. This both makes them easier to ignore but less meaningful and thus unnecessary. Other than that, the book is very clean. Teens and older would probably best enjoy it.
For several months, I have wanted to read Hyperbole and a Half. Finally having the chance to do so was wonderful. This book is so relatable but in a silly way. Sometimes humor can downplay or minimize a problem. However, Brosh is able to blend jokes and tears in her novel. Real emotions are poured into it, and that is what the reader receives from it. These include sorrow and fear but also hope, joy, and immaturity. If you need a laugh and a bit of break from a difficult life, try opening up this book.
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