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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Hyperbole and a Half: a Relatively New Book by Allie Brosh

This book is droll. Droll, I tell you. For those of you who don't know what "droll" entails, without looking it up let me say I believe it means humorous in an off-kilter, oddball sort of way.

Author Brosh has long-ago delighted legions of online fans with her web-log (also called Hyperbole and a Half), an award-winning episodic amusement featuring purposely-crude drawings that illustrate the helplessly hilarious author's lack thereof, her adventures, and her probing insights. These insights are primarily directed inward: her own scathing self-diagnosis, equal parts ruthless and grandiose; a scrutiny that is as much funhouse-mirror as microscope and that scans from a very young age to her current still fairly young age. The book collects several of these previously published web issues together with much new material of similar quality. It should not fail to please fans.

For those who are not fans, especially for those who have never heard of Brosh, the book serves as an introduction to a peculiar sort of raconteur, one of indisputably unusual talent. Brosh is young, blonde, and gawky in an appealing sort of way, but her chief attraction is her mind, and her ability to mine its rich veins of delirium-flecked memory to confront the reader with rude vistas equal parts disturbing and absurd. Some of the episodes she presents, we enjoy out of sheer fascination with how far Brosh strays over paths outré, bizarre, grotesque and arabesque, beyond anything one's own mind could have produced or recognized as common to the experience of humanity. Yet in some cases, a shock and thrill will proceed from our realization that we, too, have felt so, we too have thought such - yet surely never would we have related things precisely thus!

The shock is one of recognition: we, too, are freaks in our own way. With this awareness, perhaps we soothe and humor ourselves to believe that we, like Brosh, may have experiences within us worth the adulation of a multitude, awards from various internet authorities, and a book deal. This is pure escapism on our part.

Hyperbole and a Half, the book, is highly recommended by many - a fact which I wholly confirm and endorse. This review has been understatement, minus one-fourth.

1 comment:

dogimo said...

I'm not entirely sure this review has been successful. I meant it to read as if voiced in a stuffy and pretentious anglophile faux-upper crusty accent, all clipped tones and swallowed consonants but above all - drenched in understatement. You see it was in my mind that understatement was a good approximate antonym to hyperbole, and so perhaps a very understated review could be fun. Fun in a "that's pretty dumb!" way.

Well, I leave it to the reader to judge! One makes one's attempts, and then one must cede the field. Criticism can only rarely attain to the canonical.