I know I’m not the only person in my age range that doesn’t much care for the stereotypes that go along with being a “millennial”. On one hand, we’ve adopted a guttersnake economy, we’re overmedicated, and we’re being told two converging messages: one of “leaving your campsite cleaner than when you found it” and the other of “a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do”. On the other hand, our inability to feed ourselves and our families on minimum wage has been construed as “lazy”, we’re often *under*medicated, and our one refuge of the internet is filled with some many converging ideas that it’s a wonder we leave our dirty apartments at all.
To me, Allie Brosh has done a better job than just about anyone of expressing the fear, frustration, and just plain rampant silliness of being a millennial. This might sound overblown to those with only a passing understanding of her work (indeed–even bona fide fans might think I’m reading too much into this). Brosh’s “Hyperbole and a Half” collects several of the essays from her blog of the same name, and even tosses in some new ones. The stories are accented by Brosh’s child-like (yet completely compelling and hilarious) doodles. The essay topics vary greatly, from low self esteem to raising insane dogs to childhood to clinical depression.
And that is where Brosh’s collection goes from insanely clever and charming picture book to millennial mini-manifesto (hereafter referred to as an “MMM”). In an age where “why can’t you just be happy?” is seen as a valid request of someone who has been discouraged to talk about his or her mental illness their entire life, Brosh makes the explanation of her own depression just that: an explanation. She makes everything clear–especially the aspects of it that make just as little sense to her as anyone else. And she does all of this while being charming, witty, and incredibly relatable. While these stories are certainly in the minority compared to the rest of the book, they leave the most lasting impression.
Beyond these moments, however, Brosh is just plain laugh out loud funny. Her comics complement the stories perfectly, and never feel tacked on or superfluous. Her story of being attacked by a goose is a particularly terrific example of this, and she even includes stills from a video she made of the event, lest we think she was just making the entire event up.
If I had anything to complain about, it’s merely that this book is so short. The entirety of it can be read in an afternoon, and it’s just so good that you can’t help but hop onto your computer and browse her blog for more goodness (which may have been her evil genius plan in the first place). Brevity aside–this is a fun book. I think that Ms. Brosh is a talented wit and an introspective young lady, and I really look forward to seeing what else she comes up with down the line.
Hyperbole And A Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened was written by Allie Brosh and is available on Amazon for hardcover, paperback, and Kindle.