HYPERBOLE AND A HALF is probably one of my favorite memoirs of all time. The simple drawing style and complex ideas really hooked me and I loved how she balanced talking about her struggles with depression with the funnier, more light-hearted stories, like the tales about her dogs (Simple Dog and Helper Dog). When I found out Brosh was writing a follow-up called SOLUTIONS AND OTHER PROBLEMS, I was terribly excited.
But then the author kind of just seemed to disappear from the internet and the book's publication date came and went with no book, and I wondered what was going on. Was the author okay? Did something happen? Even though it's none of my business, and I totally respect that, after reading an intimate book like HYPERBOLE that really, really resonated with me on such a profound level, I felt like the author and I had gone on a journey of sorts together and I felt really invested on where she had gone after our shared leg.
SOLUTIONS AND OTHER PROBLEMS talks about why Brosh disappeared from the public eye. And-- it's really, really devastating. I wasn't really prepared for it, even though one of my friends was kind enough to warn me. Because the book starts out with the usual funny anecdotes where you're like "ha ha, this is so weird and quirky and funny," and then it jumps right into the dark stuff. Some of my friends didn't like this book because of that, but I honestly really liked it. Well-- maybe liked is the wrong word. I appreciated it. HYPERBOLE was like that too. Brutally honest juxtaposed against some light-hearted funny moments that made the darker content feel more transitory. SOLUTIONS is like that, too, just on a much larger scale.
Personally, I loved SOLUTIONS AND OTHER PROBLEMS. Some of the stories made me laugh out loud, one of them made me cry (not with laughter), and all of them made me appreciate Brosh. Her drawing style and self-effacing humor are both so well done. I was glad that she decided to share a glimpse into the window of her life, even though it's less than perfect. There is so much in here about hurting and healing, and learning to accept yourself and the quirkiness of life. It's just such a good book with such a great message. I would recommend this to anyone who feels alone and in the dark.
5 out of 5 stars
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