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Less a humor book and more a chronicle of personal struggle - unexpected
on November 30, 2015
Hyperbole and a Half was a mixed bag. I started reading it on a friend's coffee table and laugh-cried so hard I couldn't breathe at the "common misconceptions" chapter. I immediately bought the book and dove into it.
The book itself is different from the blog, purely from a curating position. Throughout, the writing is masterful and the juxtaposition of word and picture is ingenious. There are a few chapters, like the parrot, the "common misconceptions", and the goose, which are hilarious. But overwhelmingly this book is chapter after chapter chronicling a descent into self-loathing. The chapters on depression are the best, as they are deep, honest, and pose as exactly what they are - beautiful and sad. But it's all the others, on adulthood, motivation, identity, etc. that go around in circles about how little the author thinks of herself.
From an entertainment perspective, the humor dries up as the same "joke" is told over and over, or the same conceptual twist (self deprecation) comes at the end of each sentence. From a human perspective, it's sad because Allie sounds like, basically, a normal person. Perhaps she has a super-human ability to be honest with herself, or perhaps her coping mechanisms are less developed than others, but the core struggle of being a good, normal, functioning person, as she describes it, is pretty universal. I wish she hadn't felt so alone going through it, or that the world around her wasn't so full of BS that everyone else looked like they had it figured out.
Anyway - beautiful, honest, and a powerful book for everyone who feels alone with their personal struggles. But it hits the same point over and over and over again, when the author has proven on her blog that the breadth of what she has to say goes "alot" further.