Like many readers, I was first introduced to Allie Brosh’s blog, Hyperbole and a Half, by the post about the Alot, the mythical creature Brosh invented in her fertile and slightly twisted brain to help her deal with the murderous rage incited by seeing people write “alot” instead of “a lot.” Her deliberately scrawly yet brilliant drawings are the perfect counterpoint to her snarky yet perceptive voice as she tells stories from her childhood and her present life in ways that make you laugh till you cry … and sometimes just skip straight to crying. Never was this more evident than a couple of years ago when she wrote/drew a post called Adventures in Depression, which struck a chord with many readers who had been through similar experiences. Then she disappeared from her blog for well over a year, leading everyone to wonder if she was OK.
She wasn’t. But she wasn’t gone for good either. Brosh returned to the blogging world a few months ago with Depression, Part Two, which updated her story of dealing with depression and again, won huge acclaim and appreciation from people who were happy to see a popular blogger’s experience with mental illness described with precision, sensitivity, and humour. And for those who love Allie Brosh’s work, there’s now a collection on paper that you can hold in your hands and thrust into the hands of unsuspecting friends and relatives, as long as they have a sense of humour and don’t mind swear words (that last part is kind of important, because the language is as colourful as the drawings in this book).
While the Alot is sadly missing from this collection, some of Brosh’s best-loved posts are here — not only the ones about depression and other serious/funny glimpses into her psyche, but some hilarious stories from her childhood and, funniest of all in my view, posts about her dogs. Her drawings of dogs alone ought to earn her some kind of an award, but the accompanying text pushes them over into genius terrority. If you haven’t heard of Hyperbole and a Half, and you clicked any of the links above and thought, “This stuff is good!” then you really, really must buy this book.