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Posts Tagged ‘Hyperbole and a Half’

I like to think I know what’s going on.  I like to think that, generally speaking, I’m up on what’s in and what’s out and what it’s all about.  Sure, I realize there are things that fly over my head on a regular basis but I tell myself that those are the things that I don’t need to know about so I’m really not missing out on anything.  Lumped in that category would be things like: the newest cell phones, what’s going on in the world of soccer, jazz music and foreign films, just to name a few.  And I’ve come to peace with the fact that I don’t know anything about those things and if they should come up in conversation at a dinner party I will casually excuse myself and spend ten minutes washing my hands in the bathroom in the hopes that the subject will have changed in my absence, or I will casually change the subject to something about which I am more well versed, like Scandal or the newest nail polish colours for spring.

But, once in a while I am caught completely unaware about something that I should know something about.

This happened to me today.

I read about this book in a magazine a little while ago and it sounded funny.  And heh, it’s a book with cartoons in it so I’m up for that.

Hyperbole and a Half

Not to mention that I liked the name and the cover.  Apparently I’m not supposed to judge books by their covers but I totally do, pretty much all the time, and I think if you were being honest you would admit that you do as well.

So I put it on hold at my library and it came in the other day.  To be honest, when I got the email notification and I saw the title I couldn’t remember in the slightest which book it was or why I would have put it on hold but I was ready to be surprised.

Initially the biggest surprise was that it was heavy.  Man, it was like carrying around a brick.  This didn’t bode well because I do most of my reading on the train which means I have to carry the book around with me most of the day.  I have to REALLY like a heavy book to drag it around with me but I decide to give this one a try.  Again, the cartoons were proving to be a big selling feature.

And within five minutes of cracking it open this morning I almost peed my pants.

This book is hilarious, and touching, and brutally honest and witty and sarcastic and everything I wish my writing could be, but it never will.  I want to be friends with Allie Brosh.  Not let’s go hang out at the mall friends but let’s sit on the couch in our fuzzy pants and shoot the shit and realize that the world is often a place where we don’t quite fit.  The book includes stories about her dogs which, I’m definitely not a dog person but it almost made me want to go out and get a dog on the off chance that maybe it would inspire me to write hilarious stories about it like she does.  It also includes a story about getting lost in the woods as a child with her mother and sister that almost had me laughing out loud, in public, and not caring who stared at me.

But the ones that got me the most were the two chapters she wrote about depression.  Incredibly insightful and brilliant and so unflinchingly honest that I want to rip them out and carry them around in my pocket and show them to everyone I meet.  I can’t even imagine the courage it would take to be that honest about something so personal but she did, and in such a way as to make it seem like the simplest thing in the world to share.  I’m not one third the writer that she is and even I know that one of the hardest things about writing is to take something so difficult and make it look easy.

Of course, upon discovering what I thought was a hidden gem, I messaged my bestie to see if she had heard of it and tell her she absolutely HAD to read the book immediately.  She promptly wrote back that of course she’d heard of it, she’d been reading the blog forever and how had I not heard of it?

In response I immediately did what any rational person would do and I looked it up on Wikipedia to see if it really was something everyone else already knew about.  And yes, at least I’ve heard of Wikipedia.  Of course from there I learned that I apparently totally missed the boat on this.  One of the blog posts (one of the ones about depression) apparently got 1.5 million views in a single day.  How did I miss out on something that 1.5 million people managed to know about, all in a single day?  What rock must I have been living under on that particular day for this to have gone completely unnoticed by me?

It’s kind of like the day I “discovered” Post Secret only to figure out that it had already been discovered, about two years before I “discovered” it.

So I feel kind of lame and I admit it.  But I also feel mostly kind of great because I finally found it and it’s amazing and I just might have to run out and buy my own copy.  My own copy so I can put it under my pillow and hope that some of Allie Brosh’s writing greatness seeps into my brain while I sleep.

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