Hyperbole and a Halfby Allie Brosh seems a fitting read right after the last book about memoir writing. Because, yes, this is a lot of memoir, even if part of the story is told in comic from.

Brosh started blogging and posting comics about her life in 2009 as a way to procrastinate from studying for a physics final.

Some of the comics in this book have run on the website already; some are original. I have heard about Brosh in passing from some editors at Runner’s World. Even though I really enjoyed them, I never really checked the site outside the links that they shared, so almost all of this was new to me.

It’s an interesting way of story telling because it’s not just comics and it’s not just words, but a blend of both. And because that visual element is there, Brosh can inject some very perverse humor into comics about terrible topics, like contemplating suicide in a bout of depression. I felt bad for laughing, but I think that’s the point. It’s weird, dark and brash, but that makes her story telling that more honest and real.

Also: there are comics about dogs. Lots of funny comics about insane dogs.

And now a stupid comment: Reading these in book form was good for me – see statement above about how often I read the website – but I think I’d have preferred this as a hardback. The book is thick with glossy color pages, which made it heavy and hard to hold. A more solid spine might have helped. Of course that’s not up to Brosh, but it was part of my experience, so I’m including it here.

Also worth noting: if you haven’t listened to her interview on Fresh Air, please do. It’s gotten a lot of attention because of the discussion about suicide, but it’s not just about that. Great listen.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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