This is a very difficult book to write something about. I actually found myself avoiding writing because I honestly was not sure what to write! It’s really nothing like anything you’ve ever seen or read before.
Just to clarify, I loved it and had a thoroughly enjoyable time reading Hyperbole and a Half. What is it about though? Well, it is about a 20 something (I guess) girl who shares life-experiences and stories, and her perspectives on various personal events. Two things which distinguish it from the millions of other younglings who may also attempt such a stunt.
First, she has a razor sharp ability and eye for self-introspection. It is quite magical actually the way she gets into how you (we all) think and then put it in words. It leads to thoughts and experiences which are universally relateable and almost the kind of things which you may be embarrassed to express yourself, but which actually feel nice to read once you see that someone else also feels that way. I actually think this is a big part of why this works so well. The topics include her dogs, her childhood incidents, how dogs behave, battling depression, self-identity issues and really mostly topics which seem to be quite ridiculous if you’d asked someone to write about them. But all this expressed in a dead-pan, poker-face tone (if you can imagine that) works, and how!
Secondly the pictures. Oh my God, the pictures. She actually calls her tales ‘picture-stories’ herself, however these are pictures unlike anything you’d expect. We’ve been a little more conditioned to poorly drawn comics and cartoons in recent times, what with Southpark or even minimalistic work like XKCD. But Brosh’s work is bad. It looks like pictures drawn by a 4 year old. A 4 year old without too much talent i.e.But in fact it’s so bad that it’s actually good, it’s cute and the more you read it the more it grows on you. By no means do I want to say that it’s not intelligent work or that imagination isn’t being used in the bad-pictures. It’s just remarkable how something which would normally be assumed to be a terrible weakness for a comic writer (?) has been turned into one of her USPs and biggest strengths in fact.
I’m guessing most of the stories in the book are also available on the blog. And this is a slightly pricey book – what with colour pictures in it. I’d still recommend it in a heart-beat. It’s probably good for self-introspection. And if that doesn’t work, it’s definitely good for a lot of laughs – irrespective of your age.
Entertainment Quotient : ★★★★★
Education Quotient : ★★★
Readability : ★★★★★