Eileen Kern

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Hyperbole and a Half Book Review

I am the proud owner of several books written by my favorite web personalities, including Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant and Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half. If you are unfamiliar with these fine creative personalities, I urge you to read their entire archives as soon as you are able.

I recently read Hyperbole and a Half the book for a second time since its release. While Brosh offers a variety of humorous stories (reading about the time her home was invaded by a goose, for example, complete with video screen shots as evidence), for me the real power is in her two stories about depression.

Here’s a link to “Depression Part 1” online.

Brosh had this to say about this comic series in her appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air:

[FRESH AIR’S] GROSS: Probably the biggest response you’ve gotten to any of your blog posts, and these stories are in your new book, is – they’re the ones about depression. And there’s two of them: “Depression Part 1” and “Depression Part 2.” Were these two separate bouts of depression?

BROSH: Yeah. Part one was sort of – I thought that that was really, like, the final face of depression for me, but I was very wrong about that. Part two was a much more deep and subtle form of depression, where I just didn’t feel anything. The first part was all sorts of feelings, and a lot of self-loathing involved in that. And then slowly, it transitioned to feeling nothing, and just feeling very detached and bored with everything, because I couldn’t connect in a meaningful way to the things I enjoyed or the things around me. I just felt totally detached and numb.

I admire Brosh’s honesty–knowing that she had such a large readership and being willing to discuss some very personal details about her life within her art. Her interview on Fresh Air is one of the more intense radio clips I’ve caught.

On a cheerier note, Brosh made a quick sketch of what you can anticipate in her book:


The book includes silly stories from Brosh’s past, and stories about her dogs, and a charming story about an attack goose. It is well worth checking out her website, and, if you like what you see, consider purchasing a copy of her book.