Look at me go. Three days back and two new blog posts. I’m on fire.
(Probably doesn’t hurt that this book is essentially three quarters pictures).
For those of you who don’t know, Hyperbole and a Half actually started life as a blog, created by a woman named Allie Brosh. There haven’t been any updates on that blog since 2013, but it’s still there. Many of you reading my blog have probably stumbled across hers every once in a while. Brosh is a titan in the blogging community.
This book takes a lot of Brosh’s most popular posts and puts them together in physical form. I don’t read many blog-to-book books (was there a better way to say that? I feel like there was), but from what I’ve heard, I think this is pretty standard practice.
Hyperbole and a Half made me feel extremely uncomfortable. But, I believe this was for pretty incredible reasons. Brosh doesn’t shy away from talking about her battles with depression in this book, or in her blog, and the impact of these discussions reached millions of people. She gave an unforgiving account of what her depression was like and by doing so, helped many other people going through the same thing (just check out this article). But it is uncomfortable to read, because there are no pulled punches. It’s all laid bare. And I think feeling this way is a good thing, when someone is so honest about mental health issues. I don’t know if I’m explaining this right, but I’ll continue and hope my point comes across.
I usually feel uneasy when reading about mental health issues. I think because I know that these issues cannot be resolved. There’s no cure, but mental health issues can be managed. And so there is no real resolution in these stories. And what makes these stories uncomfortable is that it is the same in real life. There’s no real resolution. Especially with all of the stigma attached to mental health issues.
I think feeling uncomfortable while reading these stories is important if, like me, you are one of those lucky people who have never experienced mental health problems. But many, many people I love do, and I think that’s why these kinds of stories make me feel so unsettled; I can’t help Allie Brosh any more than I can help my loved ones. And that’s scary to me.
If you’ll notice, I haven’t really reviewed this book, because I’d essentially be reviewing Brosh’s blog. And I have not been blogging anywhere near long enough to be doing that. Besides, Brosh had millions and millions of followers. She definitely seems to know what she is (was?) doing.
So because I can’t really review this book, I won’t give it a star rating. I will recommend checking out Brosh’s blog before checking out the book version of it, though. Just to see if Brosh’s style is for you, before you go out and buy/borrow the book. Hyperbole and a Half was a quick read with a lot of deep, moving messages. And some pretty funny anecdotes thrown in to keep the balance.