In late 2013, cartoonist and humorist Allie Brosh turned her popular webcomic into a bestselling graphic novel: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened. Brosh’s online fans will find little here that disappoints; except for the absence of a few of the web-version’s most popular strips, Hyperbole and a Half is the same experience, repackaged. For new readers, even those unfamiliar with Hyperbole‘s derivative memes, this graphic novel offers a humorous and poignant glimpse into the lives of Millennial women.
In its graphic novel form, Hyperbole focuses more on Brosh’s depression, dogs, and childhood antics than on the shortread gems that filled the blog. As a writer, I personally missed the inclusion of the Alot monster in the graphic novel. Brosh’s implementation of English nerd humor was a large part of what drew me to Hyperbole-the-blog, and I felt somewhat alienated by Hyperbole-the-graphic novel’s distinct lack of niche jokes.
Some new readers may be put off by Brosh’s depictions of her depression. Mental illness – particularly that of young, privileged women – creates discomfort and vitriol in audiences who have not dealt with these issues. Hyperbole may actually provide the depression-portrayal most likely to convert readers of this type. Brosh’s work has been praised for both its honest and allegorical presentations of mental illness’s different facets.
As it becomes increasingly obvious that Millennial women are suffering from higher incidences of depression and anxiety than their older counterparts, voices and stories like these will blend together into a generational mix. However, the importance of Brosh’s frank depictions of mental illness is not diminished by the fact that more voices will soon join it. In Hyperbole, Brosh offers her story to a wider public, where it can be hashed over, and learned from.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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