Friday, August 22, 2014

Hyperbole and a Half: unfortunate situations, flawed coping mechanisms, mayhem, and other things that happened

It's weird for people who still have feelings to be around depressed people.  They try to help you have feelings again so things can go back to normal, and it's frustrating for them when that doesn't happen.  From their perspective, it seems like there has got to be some untapped source of happiness within you that you've simply lost track of, and if you could just see how beautiful things are...

Of course, I've read Hyperbole and a Half before, and I've always enjoyed it.  This book is simply a collection of some of her work (much of it overlaps with her blog, but for all I know some of the content is original).  

Brosh's comics on depression (available here and here) are her at her best.  She writes frankly about her depression and how unhelpful the people around her in a way that is both hilarious and heart-breaking.  

She is also hilarious describing less heavy topics, like the time her mother, her, and her sister got lost in the woods.  Her and her sister did not understand they were lost because, not wanting to scare them, their mother acted like she wasn't ready to go home.  Trying, to solve the problem, Brosh describes her attempt at convincing their mother they should go home:

I imagine it would be pretty terrifying to be wandering through the forest at night when, out of nowhere, your eight-year-old child begins describing the plot from the horror film you watched the other night, which, as far as you know, she hadn't seen.  but my mother maintained her composure very well--until a twig snapped, at which point she whirled around shrieking, "WE HAVE A DOG!" As if Murphy's presence were enough to deter a homicidal maniac with a chainsaw.

I find the style of Brosh's comic interesting: they're not straight panel-by-panel comics and (obviously) they're not straight narrative.  She combines the two, going back and forth as it suits her.  This works because she uses the narration to move the stories forward and weave in context between panels.  She then uses the comic panels to depict things, as above, like facial expressions or silence.  As novels and entertainment in general, become more multi-media, I wonder if this is an early example of mixed-media writing.  With things like Kindle and other pads/e-readers, it's only a matter of time before a novel can incorporate music, film, and other forms of media.

Hilarious and worth reading.

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