This book is everything I love about Allie Brosh: she has the ability to make you laugh hysterically by telling you stories about her childhood, but she also connects well with what it means to be an adult.
In the first chapter of this book, she writes a letter to herself as a child, and includes this piece of advice: “To reiterate, no matter how much pepper you eat, it won’t undo the ludicrous amount of salt you ate before it.” Because as a child, she would eat salt. And pepper. And some more salt.
But she also shares some insight into how her brain works (or doesn’t), and I think a lot of that is easy to identify with. She puts the crazy that many of us feel into pictures and words, and I for one kept thinking, oh yeah…I do that too. For instance, this: “Most people can motivate themselves to do things simply by knowing that those things need to be done. But not me. For me, motivation is this horrible, scary game where I try to make myself do something while I actively avoid doing it. If I win, I have to do something I don’t want to do. And if I lose, I’m one step closer to ruining my entire life. And I never know whether I’m going to win or lose until the last second.” That describes every interaction I’ve ever needed to make due to my finances, and my total lack of ability to motivate myself to make it.
The book itself is gorgeous–all of Brosh’s illustrations look wonderful and the pages are glossy and colorful. She did include some fan favs from the website, but it’s only about 1/3 of the content and she intersperses it nicely with new stuff. She’s a very talented writer and I certainly hope she follows up to this with another collection.
I knew I was going to love this book when I pre-ordered it several months ago. There was absolutely no question about it. There is barely a single thing Allie Brosh has ever posted on her website that I haven’t absolutely adored (oh, the hours of my life that site stole when I first discovered it, thanks to a colleague telling me about the Alot.) Even when Allie didn’t update as often any more, it was always a delight when there was something new. So many of the things she wrote about made it feel like she saw the world in exactly the same way I do. We both fear spiders, we both love procrastination on the internet, we both have a mentally challenged animal (one of my cats is a very dim light bulb indeed). Then she wrote about her depression, and it became clear why she wasn’t updating her blog very often.
Her two blog entries about depression (both shared in this book as well as on her website) are among the truest and most recognisable things I have ever read. I was depressed during my final year of university, but after years of medication, seem to have had the luck of getting well again. I’ve experienced some of the things she shares in her stories. I can now show other people what it’s like to live with my husband when he’s having one of his rough spells, which he will keep having on and off for the rest of our lives, because he’s never going to not be depressed, he’s just going to be able to cope with it better during the stable periods. I’ve never met Allie, but I love her for this.
About half of the stuff in the book has already been on Allie’s blog. I love her writing, so this was not a problem for me at all. There is also half a book full of new and amazing material, like her letters to her past selves, that had me laughing so hard my stomach hurt and I had trouble breathing. I have ordered the book as a Christmas present for several of my friends, and I wish I knew more people, just so I could gift them this book. It’s a hilarious and wonderful book, which you will enjoy if you’ve enjoyed the stuff on her site. Just buy it already, to make sure she writes a follow-up. After all, I want the Alot in book form too.
So, this book is hilarious, as expected. It is so witty and clever, as is the blog of the same name.