Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh—a book review


I gave the three-year-old a bowl of marshmallows so I could read this.
Don't tell.

You're probably familiar with Allie Brosh's work from her Hyperbole and a Half memes. She's a writer and comic artist with a real gift for capturing the awkwardness of humanity. If you want to see how well your sense of humor jibes with Brosh's, read this free excerpt from her book about her neighbor Richard. 

That's how I discovered her and I immediately ordered the book, in hardcover. She really captures the heart and soul of (and awkwardness) of life. I loved her stories of herself as a three-year-old stalker. Brosh is one of those people who hasn't glossed over her childhood, but remembers it well. 

Her stories reminded me of the less idyllic but memorable parts of growing up and how children behave. The neighbor girl who's so insistent on showing grown Allie her purple bedroom is brilliantly awkward and perfect. If you've ever tried to politely bypass an insistent child, you'll understand. The combination of her writing and her drawings convey both story and emotion. It made me wish I could add such genius illustrations to my own work! 

Think this would help with my Viking novel?

This is a quick read, I finished it in a day. I laughed out loud many times, though there are achingly sad stories woven in here too—divorce, depression, and death. It's a realistic take on the absurdity of life, and easy to relate to. As soon as I finished Solutions and Other Problems, I immediately got online and ordered her other book, Hyperbole and a Half.

It's difficult to rate a book that's both art and story, but I'd say five stars and I recommend you don't miss this one. It's a wonderful bit of escapism during COVID, and a reminder about priorities too. It's both hysterically funny and sobering. A perfect blend, wouldn't you say?

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