Hyperbole and a Half: A Funny, Brutally Honest Memoir

Laugh-Out-Loud Sad

Some of the books I’ve recommended as summer reads really aren’t. They’re long nonfiction books that might look a little out of place beside the pool or on the beach.

But Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things that Happened , by Allie Brosh, is an honest-to-goodness summer read. You will rip through it in three hours, tops. But you’ll wish it went on longer, because it’s funny and smart as hell. I must have interrupted Melinda a dozen times to read to her passages that made me laugh out loud.

The book consists of brief vignettes and comic (in both senses of the word) drawings about Brosh’s young life (she’s in her late 20s). It’s based on her wildly popular website.

Brosh has quietly earned a big following even though, as her official bio puts it, she “lives as a recluse in her bedroom in Bend, Oregon.” The adventures she recounts are mostly inside her head, where we hear and see the kind of inner thoughts most of us are too timid to let out in public. Despite her book’s title, Brosh’s stories feel incredibly—and sometimes brutally—real.

I don’t mean to suggest that giving an outlet to our often-despicable me is a novel form of humor, but she is really good at it. Her timing and tone are consistently spot on. And so is her artwork. I’m amazed at how expressive and effective her intentionally crude drawings are. Read more…

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