Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
Published by Gallery Books on September 22nd, 2020
Genres: Graphic Novel, Humour, Memoir
“Unfortunately, the world doesn’t make sense. It just doesn’t. Not fully, at least. Not if you keep poking it. And poking harder doesn’t do anything. In fact, the harder you poke it, the less sense it makes. And once you start to notice this, it rips through you like a Tasmanian tornado octopus, rending your stupid little sense of meaning apart with its flailing power arms.”
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I’ve waited years for this sequel. Years. YEARS! I have such a soft spot for Allie Brosh’s work because Hyperbole and a Half was one of the first books I read that got me out of my years long reading slump.
I remember reading it in my parents house after graduating university and laughing out loud while taking a bath. My parents knocked on the bathroom door to make sure everything was ok!
After a long absence, Brosh is back with Solutions and Other Problems, a graphic novel that includes humorous stories from her childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her character flaws; essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; and reflections on the absurdity of modern life.
She’s back! And I’m so happy about it. I wondered if Brosh would change her writing/drawing style or if her humour would be different.
But she’s still the same, just more mature. And that’s all reflected in Solutions.
I loved laughing hysterically at her stories from her childhood. The one about her stalking her neighbour killed me. In fact, I’m going to re-read it after I finish writing this review.
The way Brosh captures her memories are so vivid and vibrant. Her stories about her crazy antics she got up to as a kid made me remember some fond memories from my childhood. Especially in 2020, it’s nice to revisit a time when things were simpler. When you, too, were filled with curiosity or believed absurd things.
As much as I loved the lighthearted chapters, I was struck by her more serious stories. The ones filled with tragedy and existential nihilism. Brosh has been more than any human should possibly have to go through in life. She managed to convey extremely difficult subjects, such as divorce, suicide, and health scares with honesty and courage.
I appreciated that Brosh doesn’t gloss over the difficult parts of her life. Just like in Hyperbole, she’s brutally honest about the path to healing.
It’s not linear, there are good days and there are bad days, but it’s about how to celebrate life through the pain.
I want to give a special shout out to the last section of the book where she mentally tries to be kinder to herself. It affected me more than I thought it would. It’s a beautiful sentiment that we all need to practice more often!
If you’re a fan of Brosh’s work, you will love the Solutions. You get hundreds of pages of her quirky, charming, and just plain weird comics. The ones about animals are particularly cute. Just what we need in 2020 to cheer us up!
I selfishly hope that we don’t have to wait years for her follow up book. We need more Allie Brosh and her outrageous cartoons!
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