A hyperbole hoody and a half
By Ruth Greenall.
If you ever find yourself hiding from life, wondering what it’s all about and trying to make sense of a world that you don’t understand, you may find comfort in Hyperbole and a Half.
This truly funny blog/web comic is written and illustrated by Oregon-based Allie Brosh and documents her navigation through modern life. With the help of artfully simple MSPaint drawings, Brosh conveys amongst other things her endeavours to become the sort of responsible grown up who gets stuff done, describing a roller coaster ride of highs and lows dogged by procrastination, guilt, fatigue, and, when things get really bad, clinical depression.
Brosh was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and has synesthesia, which makes for colourful childhood stories, and may bring comfort to those parents struggling with lively and sensitive offspring. She also includes her dogs in the slightly dark and twisted mayhem of the ‘rage comic’ style.
Hyperbole and a Half gives advice on a range of social emergencies, such as someone standing too close to you, or how to fill awkward silences. Strategies are provided for coping with the poor grammar of other writers on the internet and Brosh has taken the trouble of writing and illustrating a ‘Better Pain Scale’, which on examination, we at Hoodywink feel would be very useful for a woman in labour.
But it is Brosh’s funny and poignant account of her experience of depression that has really drawn in her followers who now count in their millions. Hailed by critics and psychologists as an insightful contemporary depiction of the condition, this and her other stories and musings have been released as a book also titled ‘Hyperbole and a Half’ (October 2013).
Brosh acknowledges that the style of her blog appears ‘rough’ and unrefined but her confidence comes from knowing that she has put hours of work into the characters and is meticulous in her attention to detail. Her illustrations have been repurposed into a range of memes and expanded to a series of web videos, and her site store offers her images on a range of products including – we are happy to see – the hoody.