Review of Hyperbole and a Half
Because I live under a middle-aged rock, I didn’t know about the Hyperbole and a Half blog until I heard Allie Brosh speaking on "Fresh Air" (NPR? I know, right?). The interview focused mostly on her struggles with depression, which is why I originally added this to my reading list. And then I read it, and holy cow, I cracked up.
It’s not often my husband turns to me while I’m reading in bed and tells me to quiet down. But with *every single chapter* of Hyperbole and a Half, that’s what he did because I was laughing so much. I just loved every story Brosh told and the way she told it. I could relate to more stories than I care to admit to, especially the Simple Dog and Helper Dog stories… I have a similar dog myself.
The real sad part about all of this is that Brosh doesn’t seem to be updating her website since the around the time the book was released; October 2013 is the last post. Maybe she’s working on another book? Let’s hope so!
New issue of The Outbreak now available!
The next issue of The Outbreak is now available!
In “The Hunter,” you’ll follow Elizabeth Wyndham through snowy and darkening woods on the edge of town. She’s hunting for a lupanoid, one that she wounded but didn’t tranquilize. The longer she goes without finding and removing this bleeding beast, the more likely it is that other lupanoids will smell the blood and attack, much too close to the neighborhood on the edge of the forest. Will Elizabeth find the lupe’ in time? Or will darkness close around her before she makes it out of the woods?
Like the previous “Monster at the Institute” series, Michael Neno penciled, inked, colored, and lettered all 71 panels of this single-issue comic. In addition, Bryant Alvarez created the cover/background image. (I did all the writing and formatting.) Michael Neno is offering some of the original inked panels for sale at his website. Go get one before your favorite is gone!
The action in “The Hunter” takes place before the action in “Monster at the Institute,” although they make sense in either order. If this is your first time reading The Outbreak, I suggest starting with “The Hunter” first.
I designed “The Hunter” for viewing online with Prezi, which allows you to float over the background from one panel to the next, zoom in for a better look, and navigate through the comic. (Try it out with our short tutorial.) However, I recently discovered that Prezi is not viewable on most Android devices, which sucks. So I’ve added a panel-by-panel PDF version as well. You’ll miss some of the interactive fun with the PDF, but you should be able to view the comic easily now on your phone or tablet.
So go check it out! And let me know what you think!
In this book of essays, Ann Patchett discusses her writing career, her relationships, and her life’s lessons. It’s probably very difficult to put together this many advice and memoir essays without coming off as self-righteous at least part of the time. That said, the lessons she imparts are worth learning.
The book opens with essays about Patchett’s writing career: how she got where she is today and what that place actually looks like. This was my favorite part of the book, because the essays focused on working hard, trying hard, and having a lot of luck. You only get better at writing by doing it, something I need to be reminded of when I get distracted by other “obligations” in my life. I was inspired by how she built stories in her head while waiting tables and how she came up with a million ideas for magazine articles, just hoping that something would stick. In her essay about book tours, she brought up a lot of points I hadn’t considered, since I haven’t had the privilege to do that (yet).
The personal memoir essays were also interesting and could be very touching. That said, Patchett’s life comes off as some sort of Writer Fantasy World that’s hard not to envy. By coincidence, I was reading Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half (book) at the same time, and that served as a much-needed contrast. It was like switching between Lesley Knope and Liz Lemon; you sort of need one to balance out the other. So maybe my dog, as much as I love him, will never be the perfect specimen of dog that Patchett’s Rose was. He’s a lot closer to Brosh’s Simple Dog, actually, which made me laugh. And maybe I’m an aspiring writer who hasn’t worked and tried hard enough to get a paid fellowship to write my first novel. At least I got off the couch and showered today, and that’s pretty alright.
I should also add that this is the only writing of Patchett’s I’ve (knowingly) read. I’m not sure why that would matter, especially considering that the writing-advice essays were my favorites, but from skimming through other reviews, it seems to matter a lot. I picked up this book because of the “Fresh Air” interview, and then I thought it was going to be a full memoir, not essays. As it turns out, I probably liked this format better.
I recommend This is the Story of a Happy Marriage for writers and for die-hard Patchett fans. But keep in mind that for every Lesley Knope, there’s a Liz Lemon out there setting the bar at a reasonable standard for the rest of us.
In anticipation The Outbreak's next series, I’ve released PDF versions of all six issues of the previous series, “Monster at the Institute.” These are panel-by-panel PDFs--not full page layouts--intended mostly to help people who don’t have devices compatible with Prezi. You should be able to view the PDF version on your phone or tablet now, or even print “Monster at the Institute” and pin it to your bedroom wall. Or bathroom. Or whatever you want. (If you still have trouble with the PDF, please let me know in the comments!)
Each PDF is available on its issue page, but here are some convenient links: Issue 1 , Issue 2, Issue 3, Issue 4, Issue 5, and Issue 6.
The next series of The Outbreak, “The Hunter,” is scheduled to launch on Tuesday, January 13. This one will be offered in a particularly cool Prezi format as well as a panel-by-panel PDF. More information on this single-issue one shot coming soon!
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