Review: Hyperbole and a Half

Hyperbole and a Half

Title: Hyperbole and a Half
Author: Allie Brosh
Published: October 29th 2013 by Touchstone
Purchase: Book Depository | Amazon
This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative–like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it–but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:
Pictures, Words, Stories about things that happened to me, Stories about things that happened to other people because of me, Eight billion dollars*, Stories about dogs, The secret to eternal happiness*
*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

There were many attempts to write my review wittier than I really am. I had the unrealistic dream that somehow the humour of Hyperbole and a Half would become a quality I would now possess. I think I had quite a few unrealistic dreams while reading this book like I’d meet Allie Brosh and she’d become my best friend, or there’d immediately be a sequel upon finishing the book.

It’s very easy to make me laugh. This trait combined with a really funny book lead to full on snorting, crying and quick glances around to see if people were whispering about my giggling outbursts. Hyperbole and a Half is fantastic, it’s such a good pick me up book and on a few occasions I identified with Allie Brosh’s neurosis. I adore her drawings, wonderfully crude with magnificent expressions. They were so spot on for the awkward, funnily mundane stories told – her menacing habits as a child to her uncontrollable dogs to stalking, bullying birds. It was the best. THE BEST!

I can’t recall the last time I had so much fun reading a book or ever laughing so much while reading, I definitely recommend it to everyone. You can check out her blog if you want to be introduced to her storytelling or just desire more of it.

4 Stars

Review: Sisterhood Everlasting

Sisterhood Everlasting

Title: Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood #5)
Author: Ann Brashares
Published: June 14th 2011 by Random House
Purchase: Book Depository | Amazon
Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.

From the reviews I’ve read I was expecting the bittersweet conclusion of my favourite childhood series to be completely horrific but to my surprise I quite enjoyed it. That doesn’t mean Sisterhood Everlasting wasn’t like a dagger to the heart and it definitely wasn’t a return to the close knit group of friends I once loved. It was painful, heart wrenching, frustrating and at times, hopeless.

The book begins with a grim tone as the sisterhood are separated and the girls are struggling with the realities of adulthood, until a reunion is planned setting in motion a mind shattering and tragic event. Much of the book explores how the characters respond to this tragedy and the book becomes infinitely more heavy and depressing. Like the characters in the book, I was left confused, hurt and questioning the motivation behind the author’s decisions.

Once the initial shock wore off, I felt myself being wrapped in Ann Brashares’ words, they’re kind and raw and comforting. They’re the kind of words you want to hold on to and get lost in. Bee, Tibby, Carmen and Lena are all very flawed characters. Even when I was annoyed and frustrated with them, I just wanted to hug them. Their love, loyalty and strength of friendship are easy to identify with, these are the reasons why I enjoyed this book so much.

The plot is character driven, it is a story about love, loss and finding your way. It’s the coming of age of people in their late 20’s. Some of the turning points in the book felt too well constructed and at times unbelievable and three quarters in I was starting to get tired with the slow plot progression. The ending, although bittersweet, felt completely satisfying.

Overall, I really enjoyed revisiting the group of friends my childhood self aspired to be like. I loved the way Ann Brashares described each of her characters’ emotions even if I didn’t always agree with the direction of the plot. Fans of this series should definitely go into this conclusion with caution and be prepared for an unhappy but hopeful book. If you haven’t read this series, it’s a great summer read and I highly recommend it.

3.5 Stars